First nasal vaccine against Alzheimer’s disease enters human trial phase

USA – Clinical trial for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) nasal vaccine has been launched to see whether a potential treatment could be safe for humans after the therapy showed positive results in mouse models that mimic some of the symptoms of the disease. If the new trial demonstrates that the vaccine is safe in humans, further research will be conducted to determine whether it is also effective. Brigham and Women’s Hospital announced the trials last week, and they only involve a small number of volunteers — 16 people aged 60 to…

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Pfizer plans to ramp up antiviral pill production in fight against Omicron variant

USA – Pfizer CEO, Albert Bourla has confirmed the company’s plans to increase production of its Paxlovid antiviral treatment in order to combat the spread of the new Omicron variant. Bourla has said that the drugmaker has committed to producing 80 million doses of Paxlovid, a developing antiviral, up from the previous target of 50 million. The efficacy data for Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 drug now look so promising that the Big Pharma company is increasing manufacturing capacity even before the FDA’s anticipated emergency use authorization. Scientists and health officials have…

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WHO warns against omicron variant, citing high global infection risk

AFRICA – The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the Omicron coronavirus variant poses a high risk of infection surges around the globe. The variant could lead to severe consequences in some regions, the WHO has said. The head of the organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, renewed a call for a global push to get vaccines to poorer nations. The variant was detected in South Africa earlier this month with initial evidence suggesting it has a higher re-infection risk. South Africa has been praised for its prompt reporting of…

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Novartis inches closer to selling generic drug unit, Sandoz for US$21 billion: Report

SWITZERLAND – According to a German newspaper, Handelsblatt, the Swedish-based investment group EQT and the German Struengmann family are considering a joint bid for Novartis AG’s generics unit, Sandoz, for US$21.6 billion. The price would make it the largest pharmaceutical transaction of the year. The Struengmann twins, Thomas and Andreas, were early backers of BioNTech when it was founded in 2008. They have continued to be major shareholders in the company, which has developed one of the leading COVID-19 vaccines in response to the pandemic with Pfizer Inc. The Struengmann…

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Court orders Sun Pharma to face antitrust suit over generic drugs

USA – A Boston federal judge has ruled that Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. must face a multidistrict lawsuit over its alleged scheme to corner the market for generic versions of three major drugs. Sun, the world’s largest specialty pharmacy, and its subsidiary Ranbaxy Inc. are accused of engaging in an anticompetitive scheme to delay rivals’ generic drug launches. The lawsuit claims that generic drug purchasers overpaid for medications because Ranbaxy deceived the FDA by submitting generic drug applications that contained “missing, incorrect, or fraudulent information.” The jury trial is scheduled…

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Johnson & Johnson to split into two publicly traded companies

USA – Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest health-care conglomerate, has announced plans to separate its consumer products business from its pharmaceutical and medical device operations, resulting in the formation of two publicly traded companies. The consumer arm – comprised of million- and billion-dollar brands and offering products such as mouthwash, shampoo, and skincare – will form a new publicly traded company in the next 18 to 24 months. The pharmaceutical and medical device division, which includes advanced technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence, would keep the Johnson &…

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Uganda hosts nutrition symposium as part of the country’s malnutrition alleviation plan

UGANDA – The World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the country’s stakeholders on nutrition are on course to advance the nutrition agenda in Uganda in a one-day symposium, convened by the Ministry of Health, under the theme Strengthening Information System for Nutrition. The symposium was targeted at providing a platform for sharing experiences on the successes and challenges of processing and disseminating nutrition information. It focused on efforts by government and nutrition partners to strengthen the collection and management of nutrition data from the health system, both at community and…

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Meds delivery startup Packapill ventures into teleconsultation services

AUSTRALIA – Packapill, an Australian medication delivery platform that was recently launched, has partnered with Western Australia-based Western Diagnostics Pathology of Healius Limited to provide. teleconsultation services. The Perth-based medical tech startup delivers pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical products directly from its network of over 200 local pharmacies across the country. The Packapill mobile app, which is now available on the Apple App Store, “simply charges a flat fee for delivery of the products, which arrive in less than three hours.” It also allows for the upload of encrypted prescriptions and the…

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Vaccine makers swing into action against new Omicron Covid variant

USA – The world’s major Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers have announced that they are working quickly to investigate and adapt their vaccines to a new and highly mutated strain of the virus. The South African variant has about 50 mutations, more than 30 of which are on the spike protein, which allows the virus to bind to human cells. The new variant’s spread is still in its early stages, and it’s unclear how severe an infection would be in a vaccinated person. BioNTech SE has announced that it had begun work…

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AU calls for ‘predictable supply’ of Covid vaccines as WHO warns jab inequity will lengthen crisis

ETHIOPIA – The World Health Organization (WHO), the African Union, Unicef, GAVI, the vaccine alliance, and the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a joint statement urging countries to commit to new standards when donating Covid vaccines. With the continent receiving short supply of the vaccines, the goal of immunizing 70% of the African population hangs in limbo, putting lives at risk not only in Africa but round the world. While other sources of supply are increasing, dose donations have been an important source of supply,…

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