Merck, Thermo Fisher in pact to manufacture oral COVID-19 pill in Canada

CANADA – Merck & Co has announced a deal with Thermo Fisher Scientific to manufacture its experimental COVID-19 pill at the medical device maker’s Whitby, Ontario facility, according to Reuters report. The site will produce molnupiravir pills for distribution in Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as markets in the European Union, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. “This agreement is part of Merck’s commitment to make this investigational medicine widely available globally, if approved for use by regulatory agencies,” Merck said in a statement. The Ontario facility is one…

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Best Buy acquires Current Health for US$ 400 million as it ramps up healthcare strategy

UNITED KINGDOM – According to Best Buy’s most recent quarterly earnings, the company has spent nearly US$400 million to acquire remote patient monitoring technology vendor Current Health. Best Buy announced the all-cash acquisition of Current Health last month but did not disclose financial terms. During an earnings call this week, Current Health confirmed the valuation, which makes it Europe’s second-largest digital health exit. The medtech company, founded in Scotland in 2015 by CEO Christopher McCann and CTO Stewart Whiting, combines remote patient monitoring, telehealth, and patient engagement into a single…

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Novo Nordisk’s high-dose obesity drug, Wegovy approved in Canada

DENMARK – Novo Nordisk has announced that Health Canada has approved Wegovy (semaglutide injection), the first and only prescription weight-loss medication with a once-weekly dosing schedule. Wegovy is indicated for chronic weight management in adult patients with obesity, overweight, and at least one weight-related comorbidity such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, or obstructive sleep apnea in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbidity such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus. Wegovy will be commercially available in Canada in the fall of 2022. The FDA granted approval in…

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New HIV injective drug approved, to serve as substitute to antiretroviral pills

AFRICA – In a breakthrough, scientists have developed the first ‘long-lasting’ treatment for people suffering from HIV, Cabenuva, wherein thousands of HIV patients will be able to get the first of its kind injection instead of taking pills every day to keep the infection at bay. The injection which was approved in the UK will benefit around 13,000 HIV-positive persons who will be eligible for the injection through the NHS, which has been hailed as “great news” by organizations who claim it would make treatment more convenient. Many HIV patients…

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Antibiotics misuse during pandemic brooding resistant bacteria: PAHO

BRAZIL – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has issued a warning that the overuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs during the coronavirus pandemic is causing bacteria to develop resistance, rendering these important medicines ineffective over time. Drug-resistant infections have increased in Latin American countries such as Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Uruguay, according to a recent PAHO Epidemiological Alert. Furthermore, there has been a spike in the emergence of bacteria resistant to antimicrobials across the region, which have likely contributed to the rise in mortality in hospitalized COVID-19…

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Roche terminates partnership to develop COVID-19 pill with Atea

SWITZERLAND – Roche Holding AG has terminated its collaboration with Atea Pharmaceuticals Inc.to develop a COVID-19 antiviral pill, the Swiss drugmaker has announced. The partnership termination has happened a month after the drug failed to help patients in a small study. Many pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop an oral pill that can be taken as an early at-home treatment to help prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, a promising new weapon in the pandemic’s fight. Following promising data, pills from Merck & Co Inc. and Pfizer Inc are currently being…

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Kenyan nurses dealt unprecedented blow as UK halts recruitments

KENYA- The British government has stopped the recruitment of jobless nurses from Kenya in a surprise move. The UK Department of Health announced that it was suspending the hiring process, citing an existing labor shortage of the health workers in the country. Kenya and Britain on July 29 signed a deal that was expected to benefit unemployed surplus medics, who would serve in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) before returning to Nairobi. It was good news for more than 30,000 jobless Kenyan nurses and healthcare workers grappling with unemployment.…

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UK government to roll out Merck’s covid pill late November

UNITED KINGDOM – The UK government will roll out Merck’s COVID-19 antiviral pill, Molnupiravir, later this month, and a drug trial will begin in early December. The UK after it became the first country to approve the pill in early November. The UK government has obtained 480,000 courses of Merck’s antiviral pill and 250,000 courses of Pfizer’s COVID pill. Molnupiravir will be marketed as Lagevrio in the United Kingdom and will be used to treat mild to moderate COVID patients who have at least one risk factor for developing serious…

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Pfizer’s new antiviral pill cuts hospitalization risk, death from Covid-19 by nearly 90%

USA – Pfizer has announced that Paxlovid, an investigational oral antiviral, reduced COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths by 89 percent in a phase 2/3 study of nonhospitalized adults at high risk for severe disease. Pfizer said it would stop enrolling participants in the study and submit data to the FDA as part of an ongoing submission for emergency use authorization due to the “overwhelming efficacy” of the treatment. The study focused on high-risk patients who had not yet been hospitalized, with an interim analysis based on 1,219 patients enrolled in sites…

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UK study confirms HPV vaccine drastically reduces cervical cancer rates in women

UNITED KINGDOM – British researchers have reported that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine reduces the cases of cervical cancer by nearly 90%. The study looked at what happened after the vaccine was made available to girls in England in 2008, who are now in their twenties. According to Cancer Research UK, the findings promised an optimistic future, and that with the combined use of vaccines and screening, cervical cancer could become a rare disease. The findings were described as “historic” by Cancer Research UK, and they demonstrated that the vaccine…

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