Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Blow to Roche’s cancer immunotherapy prospects as 2nd trial fails
The development of a new cancer treatment pioneered by Roche was thrown into doubt on Wednesday when the immunotherapy drug failed to slow the progression of lung cancer in a second trial, hitting the Swiss pharmaceutical maker’s shares. In a study, a combination of the new drug tiragolumab and Roche’s established Tecentriq drug did not slow disease progression in newly diagnosed cases of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer when compared with patients on Tecentriq only, the company said.
More than 2.8 million courses of Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid have been made available at pharmacies around the United States, with the Biden administration working to improve access to the drug. As Paxlovid has become more widely used, some patients have reported that COVID-19 symptoms recurred after completing treatment and experiencing improvement. Here is the latest information on these rebounds:
Japan’s Takeda forecasts rebound despite full-year profit drop
Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co said on Wednesday its 12-month operating profit slid 9.5%, although the country’s largest drugmaker forecast a rebound for the current year. Operating profit for the year that ended on March 31 came in at 461 billion yen ($3.54 billion), compared with 509.27 billion yen in the year-ago period, reflecting the absence of one-time gains seen in fiscal 2021, the company said.
China calls WHO chief ‘irresponsible’ for saying zero-COVID strategy ‘not sustainable’
China hit back on Wednesday against what it called “irresponsible” comments by the head of the World Health Organization, who described the country’s uncompromising and increasingly painful “zero COVID” policy as “not sustainable.” The policy has placed hundreds of millions of people across dozens of cities under various degrees of movement restrictions, most dramatically in Shanghai, causing significant economic damage in China and beyond and fuelling widespread frustration.
Biden considers executive orders, new funds for abortion
President Joe Biden is considering executive orders and other measures to increase access and funding for women if the U.S. Supreme Court votes to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, officials and sources with knowledge of the matter said. An unprecedented leak of an initial draft majority opinion from the Supreme Court, published by Politico last week, showed the court is set to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that said the U.S. Constitution protects a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion.
Europe to drop mandate for face masks during air travel next week
Face masks will not have to be worn in airports and on flights in Europe from May 16, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Wednesday. “From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said.
Shanghai disease control officer lays down law defending quarantine measures
An official with Shanghai’s disease control center defended the strict imposition of COVID quarantine measures, rejecting accusations from critics that officials were overstepping their authority. In a battle to stifle China’s largest COVID-19 outbreak, Shanghai has forced neighbors of positive cases to move into central quarantine facilities, even if they have tested negative, spurring outrage and raising questions of legality among residents and experts.
J&J appoints consumer health head Thibaut Mongon to CEO of spun-off business
Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday appointed Thibaut Mongon as the chief executive officer of the consumer health division, which the pharmaceutical giant plans to spin off into a listed company by the end of next year. The world’s largest health products company in November announced it would spin off its consumer health division that sells Listerine and Baby Powder to focus on pharmaceuticals and medical devices in the biggest shake-up in its 135-year history.
Inside a Ukraine hospital where medics work as rockets fall
The hospital in the small Ukrainian town of Bakhmut was never intended to receive queues of ambulances bringing the wounded and traumatized from the front line of Europe’s biggest battlefield. Nor did the volunteer paramedics expect, four months ago, to be shuttling back and forth to the front line of a brutal tank battle, within earshot of rockets and shelling.
Moderna CFO leaves within a day as former employer launches probe
Moderna Inc said on Wednesday its Chief Financial Officer Jorge Gomez departed within a day of taking charge after his former employer Dentsply Sirona Inc disclosed an internal probe related to financial reporting. Gomez’s appointment was announced in April and came into effect on Monday. Moderna said he left on Tuesday after Dentsply Sirona said it will not file its quarterly report with U.S. securities regulators on time due to the investigation.
(With inputs from agencies.)