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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Wonder drug Dupixent approved for treating severe asthma in children 6-11 years

FRANCE – Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sanofi have announced in a joint that the FDA has approved Dupixent (dupilumab) as an add-on maintenance treatment for patients aged 6 to 11 years with moderate-to-severe asthma characterized by high levels of eosinophils or with oral corticosteroid-dependent asthma. Dupixent has been shown to reduce severe asthma attacks and improve lung function in children aged 6 to 11 years.  It was approved in 2017 for the treatment of moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis. The versatile injectable monoclonal antibody drug reduces severe asthma attacks and improves lung…

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Global Heart Hub and Novartis partner to ease burden of silent killer disease

SWITZERLAND – The Global Heart Hub has announced the launch of Invisible Nation, a program designed to expose and respond to the realities of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). ASCVD, a silent, chronic disease that affects 300 million people worldwide. Invisible Nation, created in collaboration with Novartis and a global network of heart patient organizations and advocates, aims to engage all stakeholders in cardiovascular diseases. Invisible Nation will bring together a global network of patient organizations and other cardiovascular (CV) stakeholders committed to bringing about systemic change in the management of…

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EU launches new authority to prepare for future health crisis

BELGIUM – The European Union has set up a new authority to prevent and rapidly respond to health emergencies based on the lessons learned from the coronavirus crisis. About 30 billion euros ($35.3 billion) has been commissioned to the body, which is expected to coordinate expenditure in preparation for a future pandemic. The health crisis body dubbed, “The European Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority” (HERA), will detect health crises and other potential threats for the healthcare system by gathering information and developing forecasts. If a new health crisis struck,…

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AstraZeneca reaches settlement with EU on COVID-19 vaccine delivery

EUROPE – AstraZeneca and the European Commission have reached a settlement on the delivery of pending COVID-19 vaccine doses by the drug maker, ending a row about shortages that had weighed on the company and the region’s vaccination campaign. The dispute plunged the European Union into crisis earlier this year as states, under pressure to speed up vaccinations, scrambled for shots. It also caused a public relations crisis for AstraZeneca, which is led by Frenchman Pascal Soriot. Brussels has since reduced its reliance on the Anglo-Swedish drug maker, with vaccine…

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Institut Pasteur inks deal with MedInstill for bottling of Covid-19 vaccines

SENEGAL – Senegal’s Institut Pasteur of Dakar (IPD) has reached a deal with US company MedInstill for the bottling of Covid-19 shots, an EU document shows, marking a step to becoming a fully-fledged maker of coronavirus vaccines for Africa. The European Union is a major financial backer of the project which aims to enable IPD to manufacture 300 million Covid-19 vaccines a year and reduce Africa’s reliance on imported vaccines. IPD, however, has yet to secure a partnership with a Covid vaccine patent holder to produce shots. African countries have…

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Pfizer and Moderna ramp up prices for their COVID-19 vaccines

EUROPE – Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc have raised the prices of their COVID-19 vaccines in their latest European Union supply contracts, the Financial Times has reported. The new price for the Pfizer shot was 19.50 euros (US$23.15) against 15.50 euros previously, the newspaper said, citing portions of the contracts seen. The price of a Moderna vaccine was US$25.50 a dose, the contracts show, up from about 19 euros in the first procurement deal but lower than the previously agreed US$28.50 because the order had grown, the report said, citing…

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University of Oxford is currently studying ivermectin as a possible therapy against COVID-19 in the UK

UK – Researchers from the university of Oxford under the PRINCIPLE study project are currently giving Ivermectin, a widely used anti-parasitic drug, to over-50s with COVID symptoms to see if it can keep them out of hospital. PRINCIPLE is a nationwide clinical study from the University of Oxford in collaboration with the British government trying to find COVID-19 treatments for recovery at home. The project is currently having any willing citizen over-50s with an underlying health condition or experiencing breathlessness and have had COVID symptoms for up to 14 days…

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European Union to spend US$1.2b in constructing vaccine factories in Africa

AFRICA – The European Union is planning to invest US$1.2 billion to facilitate construction of vaccine factories in Africa, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said. The president added that this will help the continent, where vaccination against COVID-19 has barely begun in many countries, to catch up. The bloc’s head made the pledges in Rome at a health summit of the G20, the world’s major economies. “Preventing future health emergencies means strengthening capacities throughout the world. Today, Africa imports 99% of its vaccines. This has to change. Therefore,…

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