Health News Summary: US FDA to Review Fewer Emergency Use Requests for COVID Tests; Canada to remove all COVID travel restrictions from October 1 and beyond

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Here is a summary of health news briefs.

US FDA to consider fewer emergency use requests for COVID tests

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it will now consider only a small number of emergency use authorization requests for COVID tests that may have a significant public health benefit. , in particular by responding to an unmet need. The agency is revising its COVID-19 testing policy in light of the current manufacturing status and number of cases, she said, adding that companies seeking an EUA for their COVID tests will now need to apply. to the agency’s traditional pre-market review process.

European generic drug makers could cut production due to rising energy bills

European drugmakers have warned they may stop making some cheap generic drugs due to soaring electricity costs and are calling for an overhaul of their pricing, the latest industry to seek help as the energy crisis is getting worse. Generic drugs industry lobby group Medicines for Europe, which represents companies such as Teva, the Sandoz unit of Novartis and the Kabi business of Fresenius SE, sent an open letter to energy ministers on Tuesday. and Health of European Union Member States ahead of their extraordinary meeting of the Council of the EU on Friday. , calling for measures to ease the burden of costs.

Biden Medicare costs victory mainly due to Alzheimer’s drug change

US President Joe Biden claimed victory on Tuesday for lower costs for tens of millions of Americans covered by the Medicare health program, although this was mainly due to a decision to severely limit coverage for a new drug. expensive against Alzheimer’s disease. Biden pointed to lower premiums next year for the first time in more than a decade for Medicare Part B, which among other things covers doctor and hospital visits as well as the drugs they administer. He said the result will be a savings of more than $60 per year per beneficiary.

Canada to remove all COVID travel restrictions from October 1

Canada will drop all COVID-19 restrictions for travelers starting Oct. 1, including vaccination and masking requirements for flights and trains, the government announced Monday. The move is expected to boost Canada’s travel industry, which is already booming after months of calm during the pandemic.

Valneva in talks with potential partner on second-generation COVID-19 vaccines

French drugmaker Valneva said on Monday it was in talks with a potential partner on producing an updated version of its COVID-19 vaccine that targets new variants of the disease, sending its shares. The French company has struggled to bring its COVID-19 vaccine to market to compete with competing products from drugmakers such as AstraZeneca, Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer. Its shares have lost nearly 80% since peaking in late 2021.

In Syria, the rise in cholera cases poses a threat on the front lines

A cholera outbreak that has claimed 29 lives in Syria poses a danger on the front lines of the country’s 11-year war, stoking fears in overcrowded camps for displaced people who lack running water or systems of sewers. First linked to contaminated water near the Euphrates, the outbreak has now spread across the fractured nation, with cases reported in government and rebel-held areas. In total, at least 2,000 cases have been reported so far.

Congo declares the end of the last Ebola epidemic in the East

The Democratic Republic of Congo has declared the end of its latest Ebola virus outbreak in the eastern province of North Kivu, Health Minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani Mbanda said in a statement on Tuesday. The fifteenth outbreak in the central African country emerged when a new case of the deadly virus was confirmed in the eastern city of Beni on August 22.

North-west Nigeria faces worsening malnutrition – MSF

Nigeria is facing worsening malnutrition in the northwest due to insecurity, high food prices and the impact of climate change, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said on Tuesday, calling for this that the region be included in UN funding plans next year. Gunmen have terrorized the northwest, killing and kidnapping people for ransom this year. Africa’s most populous nation is already grappling with an Islamist insurgency that has displaced at least two million people in more than a decade.

Japan’s COVID-19 herd immunity nearly 90% after Omicron wave study

Japan’s population-level immunity to COVID-19 has reached around 90% in major population areas after a recent surge of Omicron, though this level of protection is likely to decline in a few months, a study finds. released on Tuesday. This level of so-called “herd immunity” reflects partial protection conferred by both natural infection and vaccination, according to the Tokyo Foundation of Policy Research, which estimated levels for 12 of Japan’s most populous prefectures.

Pfizer/BioNTech seek FDA approval for new COVID boosters for children

Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech on Monday sought clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an Omicron-tailored COVID-19 vaccine booster for children ages 5 to 11. The request comes just days after Moderna also sought FDA clearance for its own vaccine targeting Omicron in adolescents ages 12 to 17 and children ages 6 to 11.

(With agency contributions.)

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