Health News Roundup: Europe launches first SPAC focused on production of complex drugs; BioNTech’s Q1 vaccine sales triple but it still flags full-year decline and more

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Europe launches first SPAC focused on production of complex drugs

Europe’s first “blank cheque” company focused on acquiring companies that make medicines for the biotech and pharmaceutical industry launched on Monday, with plans to raise 150 million euros.

BioNTech’s Q1 vaccine sales triple but it still flags full-year decline

BioNTech’s first-quarter sales and earnings more than tripled thanks to demand for the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with Pfizer, but the German biotech firm is still forecasting a full-year decline in vaccine sales. Quarterly revenues more than tripled from a year earlier to 6.37 billion euros ($6.73 billion), as did net income, to 3.70 billion euros, the company said on Monday.

‘Like a prison’: Shanghai, Beijing ratchet up COVID curbs

China’s two largest cities tightened COVID-19 curbs on Monday, fuelling public angst and even questions about the legality of its uncompromising battle with the virus that has battered the world’s second-largest economy. In Shanghai, enduring its sixth week of lockdown, authorities have launched a new push to end infections outside quarantine zones by late May, according to people familiar with the matter.

WHO, Gavi not planning COVID vaccine buys from S.Africa’s Aspen

The World Health Organization (WHO) and its COVID-19 vaccine partner Gavi have no immediate plans to buy shots made by Aspen Pharmacare, the two bodies said, dealing a blow to Africa’s efforts to develop its own vaccine production capacity.

Aspen completed a deal in March to package, sell and distribute Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine in what was lauded as a game-changing moment for an under-vaccinated continent frustrated by sluggish Western handouts.

Chaos at Apple supplier Quanta shows strains of Shanghai COVID lockdown

Quanta Shanghai Manufacturing City would seem like an ideal site to implement China’s “closed-loop” management system to prevent the spread of COVID that requires staff to live and work on-site in a secure bubble. Sprawled over land the size of 20 football fields, the campus houses factories, living quarters for 40,000 workers, some living 12 per room, and even a supermarket.

Chinese city probing BYD factory emissions over allegations of children’s nosebleeds

A Chinese city has opened an investigation into a factory owned by automaker BYD over allegations that emissions from the plant were causing nosebleeds among children living nearby. Changsha city authorities said in a statement on Sunday it had sent an investigative team to BYD’s factory to look into the allegations about its emissions.

After Roe v Wade, next U.S. abortion battle: state v state

With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to strike down the right to an abortion, the next legal fault line is already taking shape as lawmakers from anti-abortion states explore ways to take the radical step of extending bans to states where the procedure remains legal. A leaked draft opinion by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito this week overruling the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established abortion rights has the potential to fray relationships between states on opposite sides of abortion and test Constitutional limits, according to legal experts.

COVID vaccine makers shift focus to boosters

COVID-19 vaccine makers are shifting gears and planning for a smaller, more competitive booster shot market after delivering as many doses as fast as they could over the last 18 months. Executives at the biggest COVID vaccine makers including Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc said they believe most people who wanted to get vaccinated against COVID have already done so – more than 5 billion people worldwide.

Indonesia detects 15 cases of severe hepatitis after 3 child deaths

Indonesia has identified 15 cases of severe hepatitis of unknown origin after reporting three deaths among children, the country’s health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin told a news briefing on Monday. The World Health Organization said last week that it had received reports of at least 228 probable cases from 20 countries of child hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver.

Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

China’s two biggest cities tightened COVID-19 curbs on their residents on Monday, raising new frustration and even questions about the legality of its uncompromising battle with the virus. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

(With inputs from agencies.)

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