Health News Roundup: Trial over 3M earplugs; one-shot Sputnik Light vaccine and more

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: Mexico deaths likely to be 60% higher than confirmed toll

‘We trusted that our equipment would work,’ says Army vet, as U.S. trial over 3M earplugs begins

When U.S. combat veteran Dave Henderson completed his first deployment to Iraq in 2010, he began to experience ringing in his ears and struggled to hear what others around him picked up with ease. Henderson blames the hearing damage on an earplug that the military bought by the millions from 3M Co and he is one of more than 200,000 veterans and service members suing the company, claiming it covered up known design defects from the Department of Defense.

Merkel under pressure to spell out plan to beat virus surge

Chancellor Angela Merkel faced growing criticism on Monday for failing to spell out a plan to reverse rising coronavirus infections in Germany and blaming uncooperative state premiers for an increasingly chaotic management of the crisis. The clock is ticking for Germany to reverse soaring infections which, according to its top public health official, could jump to 100,000 a day from 20,000 now.

Russia registers one-shot Sputnik Light vaccine for use against COVID-19: TASS

Russia’s health ministry has registered the one-shot Sputnik-Light version of its COVID-19 vaccine for use, the TASS news agency reported on Monday. Russia said last week that it had completed clinical trials for the slimmed-down vaccine, which it has cast as a possible temporary solution to help countries with high infection rates make the vaccine go further.

WHO says virus origins report will be released on Tuesday

The head of the World Health Organization said that a long-awaited report into the origins of the new coronavirus following a mission to China where the virus first emerged will be released publicly on Tuesday but that further study is required. Asked to comment further on its conclusions, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “As I have said all hypotheses are on the table and warrant complete and further studies.”

WHO says COVID-19 probably passed from bats to humans through another animal: AP

A joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says that the virus was probably transmitted from bats to humans through another animal, and that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely” as a cause, the Associated Press reported on Monday. The reported findings match what WHO officials have said in the past about their conclusions following a Jan-Feb visit to China.

UK doesn’t have vaccine surplus to share: PM’s spokesman

Britain does not currently have a surplus of COVID-19 vaccines to share with other countries, but will consider how to share any future surplus if there is one, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said on Monday “Our first priority is to protect the British public, and the vaccine rollout is continuing to that end,” the spokesman told reporters. “We don’t currently have a surplus of vaccines, but we will consider how they are best allocated as they become available.”

U.S. vaccination campaign gains steam as White House speeds shipments

The U.S. government has hit the accelerator on its shipments of COVID-19 vaccines after a month of largely stagnant weekly deliveries, giving states the doses they say they need to finish vaccinating priority groups and open shots to all adults in the coming weeks. The biggest supply boost has come from Johnson & Johnson. Shipments of the one-shot vaccine had been slow to ramp up since its late February authorization as the company waited for regulatory clearance of a key U.S. factory. Pfizer Inc also has boosted output of its vaccine, doubling batch sizes and shortening production time.

Saudi Arabia to allow vaccinated fans to attend sports events

Saudi Arabia said on Monday it would allow people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend sporting events at stadiums at a capacity of 40% starting May 17 as the kingdom pushes its immunisation campaign. The sports ministry said in a statement on state media that as an exception, vaccinated fans would be allowed to attend an Asia World Cup qualifiers match between the Saudi and Palestinian teams on Tuesday in the capital Riyadh.

Emirates says over 85% of pilots, cabin crew vaccinated against COVID-19

Emirates said on Monday that over 85% of its pilots and cabin crew had been administered both doses of a coronavirus vaccine. The global take-up of coronavirus vaccines is seen as key to the reopening of borders and lifting social restrictions that have hit travel demand over the past year.

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