Latvia seeks international assistance to enhance healthcare

LATVIA – The Latvian Government has announced that it will seek assistance from the European Union (EU) and other international organizations for the provision of equipment and devices, including 120 lung ventilators, to deal with the healthcare crisis in pandemic conditions. The needed equipment also includes 14 portable x-rays, 363 vital sign monitors, 32 vital sign monitoring stations, 22 mobile ultrasound devices, 194 flowmeters, and other devices. The draft orders provide that the Ministry of Health would be responsible for coordination. According to the draft order annotation prepared by the…

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No Emergency Use Listing approval for Covaxin yet, more clarifications needed

SWITZERLAND – The World Health Organization’s technical advisory group requested “additional clarifications” from Bharat Biotech on Tuesday for its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin in order to conduct a final “risk-benefit assessment” for the vaccine’s Emergency Use Listing. The technical advisory group will now meet on November 3 to conduct a final evaluation. The Technical Advisory Group for Emergency Use Listing (TAG-EUL) is an independent advisory group that advises WHO on whether or not a Covid 19 vaccine should be listed for emergency use under the EUL procedure. Bharat Biotech has been…

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Rare nervous system syndrome linked to AZ’s Covid -19 jab

UNITED KINGDOM – The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has added Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare nervous system syndrome, as a possible side effect of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine. Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare autoimmune disorder in which a person’s own immune system attacks their nerves, causing weakness and, in severe cases, paralysis. According to the NHS, the disease primarily affects nerves in the feet, hands, and limbs, and symptoms can last from a few weeks to several years. Most people recover completely, but some may suffer permanent…

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Namibia becomes second after South Africa to suspend use of Sputnik V

NAMIBIA – Namibia has discontinued the use of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine following concerns raised by their neighboring country, South Africa, the health ministry has said. South Africa earlier this week said it would not approve Sputnik V due to concerns it could increase the risk of HIV infection among men, a claim the vaccine’s developer says is unfounded. The Namibian health ministry said in a statement that following South Africa’s decision it was suspending, with immediate effect, use of the shots until the formula is listed for emergency…

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WHO’s advisory group to deliberate on Covaxin EUL approval

SWITZERLAND – The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that experts will meet on October 26 to decide whether to grant emergency use status to Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s foreign secretary, expressed optimism that the WHO will soon approve Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s Covid vaccine Covaxin. “It is not the administrative or political process, rather it is a technical process of WHO. Technical Committee will evaluate the submissions made by Bharat Biotech which created Covaxin. I am sure the approval of Covaxin from WHO will come…

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Roche’s diagnostic sales high thanks to Delta variant

SWITZERLAND – The delta variant’s high demand for COVID-19 diagnostics has resulted in rocketing sales at Roche’s diagnostics division, allowing the company to raise its sales forecast for the year. Diagnostics sales increased 39% year on year to CHF 13.3 billion (US$14.4 billion), with the strong performance of the company’s COVID-19 test kits backed up by a recovery in other products as health services begin to recover from the impact of the pandemic last year. In the first half, the company predicted that diagnostic sales would begin to decline in…

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FDA gives positive nod for Moderna, J&J COVID vaccine boosters

USA – A month after approving a third dose of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccines, the FDA has approved booster shots for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines. It has also approved the use of different vaccines as boosters than those used for primary vaccination – the so-called ‘mix and match’ strategy – based on clinical evidence that this can increase antibody titer. The FDA specifically authorized a third Moderna shot six months after their previous shot for seniors and others at high risk of COVID-19 due to health issues, jobs, or…

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Novartis signs pact with BIoNTech to expand Covid-19 vaccines manufacture

SWITZERLAND – Novartis, the Swiss pharmaceuticals giant, has announced its new agreement to farm out some of its manufacturing facilities in Slovenia to help manufacture much-needed doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. The sterile manufacturing site in Ljubljana, Slovenia, will be used to fill at least 24 million doses in 2022, and under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will take bulk mRNA active ingredient from BioNTech, fill it into vials, and ship it back to them for distribution. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is one of a handful that have been…

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Morroco suspends flights to UK, Germany, Netherlands due to Covid-19 fears

MOROCCO – Morocco has announced it is suspending, until further notice, all flights to and from the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands amid rising coronavirus infections in those countries.  In a tweet, national carrier Royal Air Maroc said the move was due to the pandemic situation. It did not provide further detail. Morocco’s Health Ministry warned Monday of the threat of a new virus surge, stressing the need to avoid possible a relapse of serious and critical cases and COVID-19-related deaths. Recalling the continuous need for caution as the…

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Ethiopian Airlines partners with Aero HygenX for deployment of aircraft disinfection

ETHIOIPIA – Ethiopian Airlines and Aero HygenX, inventors of RAY, an autonomous aircraft sanitization robot, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining a plan for fleetwide deployment and regional marketing of Aero HygenX’s autonomous UV-C light disinfecting robot. The MoU marked a first foray into the African market for Aero HygenX, a Canadian technology company taking aviation by storm with its safe, efficient, and chemical free solution designed for aircraft cabins and rail cars. Ethiopian Airlines has become the first African carrier to roll out the new technology that…

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