Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Italy will launch a cull of wild boars around Rome after African swine fever was found in one of the thousands that live in the Italian capital and the surrounding countryside, local authorities said on Monday. An isolated outbreak of the deadly hog disease was reported in northwest Italy at the start of the year, and the case found in Rome last week – the first detected in central Italy – has triggered fears of a spreading epidemic.
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.
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.
Cancer diagnosis a year before infection not linked to worse outcomes; air travel carries COVID risks
The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. Old cancer diagnosis not linked with worse COVID-19 outcomes
France eases restrictions as number of bird flu outbreaks wane
France will lift most restrictions on poultry farming that had been imposed country-wide to contain the fast spread of bird flu after a decrease in the number of outbreaks in recent weeks, the agriculture ministry said on Monday. France culled 16 million birds since the end of November to address its worst-ever bird flu crisis, which accelerated when the highly contagious virus spread to the country’s largest poultry regions in western France.
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.
Novavax 2022 COVID vaccine deliveries off to slow start
Novavax Inc on Monday revealed a sharp drop in its COVID-19 research funding for the first quarter and said it shipped less than a fourth of the total planned COVID vaccine deliveries for 2022. Shares of the company were down nearly 8% after the bell.
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.
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.
(With inputs from agencies.)