Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
China should avoid excessive, “flood-like” COVID measures -former CDC expert
The benefits of China’s zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 continue to outweigh the costs but it should cut back on excessive measures that risk exhausting people, a former Chinese disease control official said on Tuesday. Zeng Guang, the former chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said “flood-like” measures and policies that prove inefficient should be avoided even though China has the financial resources to keep pursuing the goal of zero local infections.
Iran’s COVID-19 deaths hit record daily high of 709
Iran on Tuesday reported a record daily 709 deaths from COVID-19 as the worst-hit country in the Middle East faced a fifth surge in infections led by the highly contagious Delta variant. The health ministry said the total number of cases had reached 4.75 million with 40,623 new infections over the past 24 hours. Total fatalities rose to 103,357, state TV reported.
Fauci says he expects more COVID vaccine approvals in the coming weeks
Further full U.S. approvals for COVID-19 vaccines could come within weeks, with separate approval for children under 12 as soon as mid-autumn, the nation’s top infectious disease official said on Tuesday, one day after Pfizer-BioNTech won wider FDA approval for its shot. Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top medical officer and the head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told MSNBC he expects Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to secure full Food and Drug Administration approval relatively soon, possibly within several weeks to one month.
Israel’s COVID-19 vaccine boosters show signs of taming Delta
Less than a month into a COVID-19 vaccine booster drive, Israel is seeing signs of an impact on the country’s high infection and severe illness rates fuelled by the fast-spreading Delta variant, officials and scientists say. Delta hit Israel in June, just as the country began to reap the benefits of one of the world’s fastest vaccine roll-outs.
U.S. review of COVID’s China origin unlikely to solve vexing questions
President Joe Biden is set to be briefed on the U.S. intelligence community’s investigation into how COVID-19 started, with the report likely to disappoint in delivering clear answers about the deadly pandemic’s origin in China. Biden in May ordered aides to work to resolve disputes among intelligence agencies examining rival theories about how the novel coronavirus started, including a once-dismissed theory about the possibility of a laboratory accident in China, as well as that the virus originated naturally with animals, such as bats or birds.
Weak cooperation between U.S. and Chinese authorities is hindering efforts to curb increasingly sophisticated forms of fentanyl trafficking, according to a U.S. congressional advisory report reviewed by Reuters. The report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, due to be published on Tuesday, said U.S. authorities have found that cooperation with Chinese counterparts “remains limited on the ground”.
Australia pandemic panel backs reopening targets despite Sydney outbreak
Australia can proceed with its reopening plans when the country reaches 70%-80% vaccination levels, the government’s pandemic modeling adviser said, even as some states hinted they may not ease border curbs if Sydney fails to control its Delta outbreak. The Melbourne-based Doherty Institute said the country’s focus must shift to limiting the number of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations, from its current zero-cases strategy, when at least 70% of the country’s population above age 16 is fully vaccinated.
Llama antibodies could soon be playing a role in the global fight against COVID-19 if clinical trials being conducted by a Belgian biomedical start-up live up to their early promise. Researchers from the VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology in Ghent say antibodies extracted from a llama called Winter have blunted the virulence of coronavirus infections, including variants, in laboratory testing.
EU okays increase in mRNA COVID-19 vaccines manufacturing capacity
Europe’s medicines regulator said on Tuesday it had approved additional manufacturing sites to increase the production capacity of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for the region. The recommendations do not require a decision by the European Commission and the sites can become operational immediately, the European Medicines Agency said.
At a factory in Sri Lanka’s Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia city, workers use staples and glue to assemble long cardboard boxes, which will be used as coffins for some of the country’s coronavirus victims. The coffin is made out of recycled paper and costs a sixth of the cheapest wooden casket, according to 51-year old Priyantha Sahabandu, the local government official who first came up with the idea.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)