Health News Roundup: European cities announce new restrictions; Moderna sees 20 million doses of COVID and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
European cities announce new restrictions as COVID-19 cases soar
European countries from Denmark to Greece announced new restrictions on Friday to curb surging coronavirus infections in some of their largest cities, while Britain was reported to be considering a new national lockdown. Cases in the United Kingdom almost doubled to 6,000 per day in the latest reporting week, hospital admissions rose and infection rates soared across parts of northern England and London.
Moderna sees 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidate by year end
Moderna Inc said on Friday it was on track to produce 20 million doses of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year, while maintaining its goal of readying 500 million to 1 billion doses in 2021. Vaccines and treatments are seen as essential in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic that has shown no signs of slowing and killed over 944,000 people worldwide.
Second UK lockdown? PM says second wave inevitable, new restrictions possible
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he did not want another national lockdown but that new restrictions may be needed because the country was facing an “inevitable” second wave of COVID-19. Ministers were on Friday reported to be considering a second national lockdown, after new COVID-19 cases almost doubled to 6,000 per day, hospital admissions rose and infection rates soared across parts of northern England and London.
Explainer: When will COVID-19 vaccines be generally available in the U.S.?
U.S. President Donald Trump and the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week disagreed about when a COVID-19 vaccine would become widely available. Trump said on Friday that enough vaccine would be available for every American by April, while the CDC director said vaccines were likely to reach the general public around mid-2021, an assessment more in line with most experts. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR A VACCINE TO BE GENERALLY AVAILABLE?
T cell shortage linked to severe COVID-19 in elderly; antiseptic spray may limit virus spread
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. Shortage of ‘naive’ T cells raises COVID-19 risk in elderly.
If you do not snooze you lose: sleep seen as essential for the brain
Scientists are providing a fuller understanding of the essential role that sleep plays in brain health, identifying an abrupt transition at about 2.4 years of age when its primary purpose shifts from brain building to maintenance and repair. Researchers on Friday said they conducted a statistical analysis on data from more than 60 sleep studies. They looked at sleep time, duration of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, brain size and body size, and devised a mathematical model for how sleep changes during development.
U.S. reverses COVID-19 testing guidance again: exposed without symptoms need tests
The Trump administration reversed guidance Friday on COVID-19 testing for a second time, urging those exposed to people with the virus to get tested even if they are not displaying symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sparked widespread outcry among state public health officials and experts in late August when it said that people who do not have symptoms may not need to get tested.
The European Union wants to raise more money to shore up its supplies of potential COVID-19 vaccines after estimating that the number of shots available next year around the world might fall short of demand, two EU sources said. The possible move by the wealthy EU could weaken a global procurement effort co-led by the World Health Organization and further limit the vaccines available to poorer countries, even though the bloc has publicly championed the sharing of COVID-19 vaccines among the entire global population.
Roche rises on word of COVID trial win, new test and European cancer drug nod
Roche shares closed higher on Friday after the Swiss drugmaker said a study had shown its drug Actemra helped against COVID-19 and announced the release of a new antibody test as well as a European recommendation for a liver cancer cocktail. Hospital patients taking Actemra, also called RoActemra, were 44% less likely to need ventilators or die than patients who got a placebo plus normal care, the company said, citing data from its Empacta phase III trial done in several countries including the United States.
Europe’s healthcare regulator has endorsed using dexamethasone to treat COVID-19 patients with breathing difficulties, paving the way for the steroid to become the region’s second approved treatment for the respiratory illness. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Friday the drug could be an option to treat adults and adolescents needing oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation, after concluding its review of results from a trial by British scientists.