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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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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WHO releases recommendations for robust healthcare delivery post-covid

SWITZERLAND – The World Health Organization (WHO) in a novel paper has identified seven critical areas that must be strengthened in order to improve health services worldwide. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, health services were exhausted and stretched far beyond their capacity; now, the World Health Organization has released its seven recommendations for ensuring the future of health systems in the aftermath of the last two years of devastation. The WHO believes that this effort will help to accelerate the implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005), advancing health systems toward…

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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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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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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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US pledges 17 million J&J vaccines to the AU

USA – President Joe Biden has announced that the United States will donate more than 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to the African Union. Biden made the announcement during a meeting with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the White House. Kenyatta is the first African leader to visit the White House during Biden’s presidency. The 17 million J&J vaccines will be available for delivery immediately and will be delivered to the African Union within the coming weeks. This donation is in addition to the 50…

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Accelerated regime of preventative drugs shines light on Malaria treatment

COTE D’IVOIRE – Malaria infection and deaths could be avoided by more than half a million young children thanks to an accelerated regime of preventative drugs being rolled in four African countries, global health agency Unitaid, has said. The intervention, known as the Intermittent Preventive Treatment of malaria in infants-plus (IPTi+), builds upon a World Health Organization (WHO) recommended strategy that uses the antimalarial sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine to prevent malaria in children under one year old. “In its current regimen of IPTi, the protection offered to infants only goes up to one…

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Congo reports three new Ebola cases days after new case was reported

CONGO – Three new Ebola cases have been confirmed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bringing the total to five in the last 10 days, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. Health officials have said the latest flare-up of the virus appeared to be linked to the massive 2018-20 outbreak, which killed more than 2,200 people and infected more than 1,000 others. The first confirmed case was a young boy who died of the disease ten days ago. Three of the boy’s neighbors also died last month after experiencing…

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Machine learning revolutionizes mental health assessment

UNITED KINGDOM – A groundbreaking study published in the journal GigaScience has found that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can perform high-quality mental health assessments, potentially improving the future of diagnostics for mental health disorders. The study, led by Denis Engemann of Inria, revealed that machine learning from large population cohorts can produce “proxy measures” for brain-related conditions without requiring a specialist’s mental health assessment. For their study, the researchers used the UK Biobank, one of the most comprehensive and large biomedical databases on the planet, which contains extensive and health-related data…

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