Japanese experts sound alarm of an impending flu outbreak in winter

JAPAN – Infectious disease experts in Japan are calling on people to consider getting vaccinated against simultaneous influenza and COVID 19 co-outbreak this season, unlike last season. Flu vaccinations have begun across the country. However, few flu cases have been reported so far this season, as opposed to last season, when the country did not experience a flu outbreak due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A sudden increase in COVID-19 and flu patients would strain Japan’s healthcare system and increase the burden on the field, potentially resulting in a medical collapse.…

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ViiV Healthcare partners with Japan’s Shionogi to develop longer-acting HIV drug

USA – ViiV Healthcare, the global specialist HIV company majority owned by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has agreed to collaborate with Shionogi on the development of ultra-long acting HIV drugs that could be administered as little as four times a year, potentially revolutionizing HIV treatment. GSK’s VIV has also developed the long-acting HIV injection Cabenuva, which combines cabotegravir with Janssen’s rilpivirine, as well as another combination therapy of dolutegravir and lamivudine, which is administered once every one or two months. Cabenuva is indicated as a complete regimen for the treatment of human…

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GSK and Vir Biotech COVID-19 antibody gets Japanese approval

JAPAN – Sotrovimab, a COVID-19 antibody therapy developed by GlaxoSmithKline in collaboration with Vir Biotechnology has received Special approval for emergency use in Japan for patients who are not severely ill. Sotrovimab, is a monoclonal antibody that attacks the virus, is given intravenously, became the fifth medicine in Japan for treating COVID-19. The fast-tracked approval of sotrovimab came after a health ministry expert panel gave a positive nod for the therapy.   FDA granted Sotrovimab an Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) in May for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in people…

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Eisai and Biogen seeking FDA fast approval for novel Alzheimer’s drug

USA – Japanese drugmaker Eisai Co. has filed for a faster approval process with the FDA for the approval of its experimental drug for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), lecanemab. The request follows the approval of Aduhelm, also known as aducanumab, in June, which works similarly to lecanemab in reducing the buildup of amyloid beta plaques in patients’ brains. The Biogen/Eisai drug Aduhelm was the first Alzheimer’s treatment to receive FDA approval in nearly 20 years, but the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) controversial use of the accelerated approval process – which…

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India to export 8 million covid-19 jabs

INDIA – In an announcement by Indian top foreign ministry official, the nation has pledged to export 8 million COVID-19 vaccine jabs by the end of October after lifting its ban on overseas shipment. The Asian nation halted vaccine exports in May after a devastating coronavirus wave ravaged the country. As part of a broader strategy to counter China’s influence, the so-called Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) leaders of United States, Japan, India, and Australia have collaborated to develop a plan to distribute Covid-19 vaccines to Asian countries. According to the…

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U.S. FDA approves Takeda’s lung cancer therapy

JAPAN – Japanese pharma company Takeda Pharmaceutical has been granted approval for its drug, Exkivity, to treat a type of lung cancer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Takeda said the approval was based on an early-to-mid-stage trial testing 114 patients with non-small cell lung cancer, with results showing clinically meaningful responses with a median duration of about 18 months. Exkivity was approved for patients with a specific gene mutation called EGFR Exon20 insertions in non-small cell lung cancer, whose disease has progressed on or after chemotherapy. The company…

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Takeda jumps on Japan’s Moderna vaccine mess to secure Novavax supply deal

JAPAN – Japanese drug giant, Takeda, has announced a deal where the Japanese government has agreed to purchase 150 million doses of the Novavax shot that it will produce. As Moderna faces questions about contaminants found in its COVID-19 vaccines in Japan, the company’s distribution partner in the country, Takeda, is moving forward on its plans with Novavax’s licensing and production deal covering the country The Novavax shot remains in development, and the partners aim to start the rollout in Japan early next year. The government’s purchasing agreement is subject…

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Two die in Japan after shots from suspended Moderna vaccines

JAPAN – Two people have died after receiving Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine shots that were among lots later suspended following the discovery of contaminants, Japan’s health ministry said. The men in their 30s died this month within days of receiving their second Moderna doses, the ministry said in a release. Each had a shot from one of three manufacturing lots suspended on Thursday. The causes of death are being investigated. Japan halted the use of 1.63 million Moderna doses shipped to 863 vaccination centres nationwide, more than a week…

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Japan suspends 1.6 million doses of Moderna vaccine after contamination reports

JAPAN – Japan has suspended the use of 1.63 million doses of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine, more than a week after the domestic distributor received reports of contaminants in some vials. Both Japan and Moderna said no safety or efficacy issues had been identified and the suspension was just a precaution. “Moderna confirms having been notified of cases of particulate matter being seen in drug product vials of its COVID-19 vaccine,” the U.S. vaccine maker said in a statement, adding it put the lot in question and two adjacent lots…

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Egypt, Japan ramp up JICA grant to US$19 million to boost healthcare sector

EGYPT – Egypt has inked a deal with Japan to increase the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) grant to US$19 million. These funds are purposed to go into construction of a new outpatient clinic at Egypt’s Japan funded Abu al-Rish Hospital. This hospital falls within the framework of a distinguished Egyptian-Japanese relations that promotes developments in the health sector. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation Egypt, applauded the Egyptian-Japanese joint relations at the level of international cooperation and development financing, which resulted in supporting the health sector by about…

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