Health News Roundup: Chile approves clinical trials for Sinovac; Mosquitoes cannot transmit coronavirus and more

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

New York battles COVID-19 hot spots as Washington wrangles over relief

New York City restaurants welcomed patrons back inside for the first time in months on Wednesday as authorities scrambled to contain COVID-19 outbreaks in some neighborhoods and negotiators in Washington wrangled over a coronavirus relief package. Coronavirus infection rates continued to climb in many of the nine ZIP codes in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn where new clusters have emerged, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday.

Oxford to study anti-inflammatory drug Humira as potential COVID-19 treatment

Oxford University said on Wednesday it would study whether the world’s best-selling prescription medicine, adalimumab, was an effective treatment for COVID-19 patients – the latest effort to repurpose existing drugs as potential coronavirus therapies. Adalimumab, which is sold under the brand name Humira by AbbVie , is a type of anti-inflammatory known as an anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drug. Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 patients already taking anti-TNF drugs for inflammatory bowel disease and inflammatory arthritis are less likely to be admitted to hospital, Oxford said in a statement.

WHO chief urges more countries to join COVAX as death toll exceeds 1 million

One million people are confirmed to have lost their lives to COVID-19, but “the real number is certainly higher”, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a high-level United Nations event on Wednesday. Tedros, addressing the New York event from Geneva, said that 167 countries have now joined the WHO-led COVAX global vaccines facility, representing 70% of the world’s population, adding: “And the list is growing every day”.

Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine unlikely to be ready before U.S. election: FT

Moderna Inc will not be ready to apply for emergency authorization for its potential COVID-19 vaccine before the U.S. presidential election in November, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing the company’s chief executive officer. Stéphane Bancel told FT that he did not expect to have full approval to distribute the drug to all sections of the U.S. population until next spring. (

Brazil’s Sao Paulo signs agreement with Sinovac for COVID vaccine doses

The government of Brazil’s Sao Paulo state signed a $90 million contract on Wednesday to receive 46 million doses of a potential vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state, is one of the sites of Phase III clinical trials for the Sinovac vaccine conducted by the state’s Butantan Institute, a leading biomedical research center.

Best way to avoid more COVID measures is to follow the rules: UK PM Johnson

The best possible chance of avoiding further COVID-19 measures is to follow restrictions being imposed, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday as the daily total of cases surpassed 7,000 for the second day in a row.

Neanderthal genes linked to severe COVID-19; Mosquitoes cannot transmit the coronavirus

The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Neanderthal genes linked with severe COVID-19 AbbVie withdraws uterine fibroids drug from Canada

AbbVie Inc said on Wednesday it was voluntarily withdrawing its drug to treat noncancerous growths in the uterus from the Canadian market, following reports of severe liver injury. The decision follows reports on rare cases of severe liver injury needing liver transplantation in Europe, the company said, adding that five cases of severe liver injury have been reported since the drug became available in 2012.

Trump-touted hydroxychloroquine shows no benefit in COVID-19 prevention: study

A malaria drug taken by U.S. President Donald Trump to prevent COVID-19 did not show any benefit versus placebo in reducing coronavirus infection among healthcare workers, according to clinical trial results published on Wednesday. The study largely confirms results from a clinical trial in June that showed hydroxychloroquine was ineffective in preventing infection among people exposed to the new coronavirus.

Chile approves clinical trials for Sinovac, J&J coronavirus vaccines

Chilean health authorities said on Wednesday they have approved the start of clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines under development by China’s Sinovac and Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical unit Janssen. The trials, authorized by Chile’s Institute of Public Health (ISP), will be conducted by government health officials and researchers from two Chilean universities, authorities said.

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