Health News Roundup: Gripped by virus resurgence, Spain reports 3,594 new cases; J&J adds Chile, Argentina and Peru to Latin America and more

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Gripped by virus resurgence, Spain reports 3,594 new cases

Spain reported 3,594 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday as it struggled to contain a second wave of contagion that hit a peak of some 8,000 cases last Friday. The country has registered the largest number of cases in western Europe since the pandemic began six months ago and the biggest resurgence after lifting one of the continent’s strictest lockdowns against the spread of COVID-19.

J&J adds Chile, Argentina and Peru to Latin America COVID-19 vaccine trials

U.S. pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson has added Chile, Argentina and Peru to the Latin nations where it plans to conduct Phase III trials for its vaccine against COVID-19, the company confirmed on Wednesday. The study will involve 60,000 volunteers from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Mexico and will be coordinated by J&J’s pharmaceutical unit Janssen and local academic centers.

U.S. health agency says testing not needed for some exposed to COVID-19, drawing criticism

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) narrowed its guidance for who should get tested for COVID-19 this week, saying people who were exposed but are not symptomatic may not need to be tested. That marks a reversal of the agency’s previous position recommending testing for all close contacts of people diagnosed with COVID-19, raising questions from some politicians and health experts about whether the change was based on political pressure.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine appears to work as well in older adults in early study

Moderna Inc said on Wednesday its experimental COVID-19 vaccine induced immune responses in older adults similar to those in younger participants, offering hope that it will be effective in people considered to be at high risk for severe complications from the coronavirus. The company is one of the leading contenders in the race to develop a vaccine against the virus that has killed more than 820,000 people worldwide. Its candidate, mRNA-1273, is already in late-stage human trials testing its ability to safely prevent infection.

EU eyes initial COVID-19 vaccination for at least 40% of population

European Union nations, Britain and EU partners have agreed on a blueprint for a COVID-19 vaccination plan envisaging inoculation of at least 40% of their populations, a step that may set back the World Health Organisation’s own vaccine blueprint. The EU target for early vaccinations is twice as high as the goal set by the WHO, which is aiming to buy vaccines initially for 20% of the world’s most vulnerable people through a global procurement scheme.

CanSino blames Chinese officials for failure of joint vaccine program with Canada: Globe and Mail

Chinese vaccine-maker CanSino Biologics said on Tuesday domestic bureaucratic indecision was the reason behind the failure of a coronavirus vaccine partnership with Canada, the Globe and Mail reported, citing the company’s chief executive officer. CanSino in May had agreed to bring its vaccine candidate to Canada for testing through a partnership with the National Research Council (NRC). (https://bit.ly/2EDnvga)

U.S. Justice Department weighs probe of blue states over COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes

The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday said it may investigate whether four states led by Democratic governors violated the civil rights of the elderly by requiring nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients, a practice which critics say led to thousands of deaths. The department said it was seeking COVID-19 data related to nursing homes from four states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine trial more than 50 percent enrolled

Enrollment in the 30,000-volunteer U.S. trial testing a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech is more than 50 percent complete, Dr. Nicholas Kitchin, a top Pfizer vaccine research and development scientist, said at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meeting on Wednesday. Last week, the company said it had enrolled more than 11,000 volunteers in the trial.

Further coronavirus heart impact discovered; new clues to why women fare better than men

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.

Coronavirus discovered in heart muscle cells U.S. doctors group calls for transparency in COVID-19 vaccine development

The rapid pace of COVID-19 vaccine development and scant information about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) vaccine review process are leading to concerns, the American Medical Association (AMA) said on Wednesday. In a letter, the AMA urged the FDA to ensure transparency in the vaccine development process and keep physicians informed of the agency’s plan for review of potential vaccine candidates. (https://bit.ly/32qMjAl)



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