Health News Roundup: WHO says it ‘cannot cut corners’ in approving India’s Covaxin shot; Britain reports highest number of COVID-19 cases since mid-July and more


Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

WHO says it ‘cannot cut corners’ in approving India’s Covaxin shot

The World Health Organization on Monday asked for further data from India’s Bharat Biotech to consider the company’s request for an emergency-use listing for its COVID-19 shot, saying the WHO could not “cut corners” in making a decision. Bharat Biotech, which developed Covaxin with an Indian state research body, started sharing data with the WHO from early July https://extranet.who.int/pqweb/sites/default/files/documents/Status_COVID_VAX_29Sept2021_0.pdf. The vaccine was given emergency-use authorisation in India in January even before the completion of a late-stage trial, which later found the shot to be 78% efficacious https://www.bharatbiotech.com/images/press/covaxin-phase3-clinical-trials-interim-results.pdf.

Britain reports highest number of COVID-19 cases since mid-July

Britain reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in three months on Monday as the number of infections reached levels last seen when lockdown restrictions were in place in England during the summer. Infection numbers in Britain are currently much higher than in other western European countries and have risen more 60% in the last month.

Biden administration asks U.S. Supreme Court to block Texas abortion law

President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block a Texas law that imposes a near-total ban on abortion, calling the Republican-backed measure plainly unconstitutional and specifically designed to evade judicial scrutiny. The administration asked the Supreme Court to quickly reverse a decision this month by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift a judge’s order blocking the law while litigation over the statute’s legality continues. The justices in a 5-4 Sept. 1 decision let the law take effect in a separate challenge brought by abortion providers in the state.

EU plans to boost reach of Pfizer COVID-19 shot

Europe’s drug regulator said on Monday it was evaluating use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children as young as five, while also taking steps to aid an increase in production and boost the shot’s reach. The European Medicines Agency said it would review data, including results from an ongoing study, for the vaccine – known as Comirnaty. It has already been authorised for use in those 12 years of age and older in the European Union and United States.

Russian regions introduce QR codes for entry to public venues as COVID-19 cases hit record

Many Russian regions on Monday announced plans to keep cafes, museums and other public venues open only to those who have recently recovered from COVID-19, have proof of inoculation with a Russian vaccine or a negative coronavirus test, as new cases in the country hit a record. The round of unpopular measures that limits freedoms in Russia comes as the number of daily COVID-19 infections reached an all-time high of 34,325 despite the state-driven vaccination programme.

Valneva says its COVID-19 vaccine shows similar protection to AstraZeneca’s, fewer side effects

Valneva SE on Monday said its experimental COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated efficacy “at least as good, if not better” than AstraZeneca’s shot in a late-stage trial comparing the two, with significantly fewer adverse side effects. Valneva, among a handful of drugmakers testing their vaccines against one already in use, is hoping its candidate, which uses more traditional technology than the mRNA vaccines, could be a more reassuring option for Europeans still reluctant to be immunised.

South Africa regulator not authorising Russian COVID-19 vaccine for now

South Africa’s drugs regulator said on Monday that it was not approving an emergency use application for Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 shot for now, citing concerns about its safety for people at risk of HIV. South Africa has one of the world’s highest HIV burdens, and some studies have suggested that administration of vaccines using the Adenovirus Type 5 (Ad5) vector – which Sputnik V does – can lead to higher susceptibility to HIV in men.

Burundi launches COVID-19 vaccination drive

Burundi on Monday rolled out its first COVID-19 vaccines, months after most African countries, the latest step in the East African nation’s shift towards a more active approach to containing the pandemic. The vaccination campaign started in the commercial capital of Bujumbura without fanfare. Dozens of city residents queued quietly at a vaccination site, telling Reuters they heard about the drive through word of mouth.

Vaccines less protective for multiple myeloma patients; beware of fake stem cell treatment claims for COVID-19

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 have yet to be certified by peer review. Vaccines weaker than expected in multiple myeloma patients

Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state and top military officer, died at the age of 84 due to complications from COVID-19. He was fully vaccinated, his family said in a statement on Facebook. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

(With inputs from agencies.)



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