Health News Roundup: Britain nearing vaccine deal with European Union; Beijing and UAW to work together and more


Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Britain nearing vaccine deal with European Union: The Times

Britain is close to striking a vaccine deal with the European Union as soon as this weekend that will remove the threat of the bloc cutting off supplies, The Times reported on Saturday. Under the agreement the EU will remove its threat to ban the export of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to Britain, it added.

Chinese FM: Beijing and UAE to work together on affordable vaccines

China wants to work with the United Arab Emirates on the production of affordable COVID-19 vaccines, the country’s top diplomat told the Emirates state news agency WAM on Saturday. “We will work to expedite the bilateral production of the vaccines in a way that would contribute greatly to making sure the vaccines are available and affordable,” China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, kicking off a two-day official visit to the UAE, part of a wider regional tour.

U.S. administers 140 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines – CDC

The United States has administered 140,180,735 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and distributed 180,644,125 doses as of Saturday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The tally is for Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines as of 6:00 a.m. ET (1000 GMT) on Saturday, the agency said.

France sees further rise in coronavirus patients in intensive care

The number of patients with coronavirus in intensive care units in France rose on Saturday to the highest this year, health ministry data showed, as the government faced calls for a strict lockdown to curb a third wave of infections. France had 4,791 ICU patients being treated for COVID-19, up from 4,766 on Friday, the data showed.

COVAX expects full vaccine supplies from India’s Serum in May, says UNICEF

A World Health Organization (WHO)-backed program to supply coronavirus vaccines to poorer countries expects that the Serum Institute of India (SII) will resume full deliveries of the AstraZeneca shot to it in May, UNICEF said on Saturday. “Deliveries of SII/AZ vaccine are expected to begin fully again by May, with catch-up deliveries to reach every participant’s full allocation up to May, accelerating thereafter,” a UNICEF spokeswoman told Reuters in an email.

Germany expects first delivery of J&J COVID-19 shot in mid-April

Germany is due to receive the first small delivery of Johnson & Johnson’s single dose COVID-19 vaccine in mid-April, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Saturday, giving the country a further shot to help speed up its sluggish rollout. “It will only be a small delivery at first,” Spahn told an online event, adding he expected a shipment of around 275,000 doses in the week of April 12.

Indonesia sees vaccination slowdown as India delays shipments

Indonesia expects a slowdown in COVID-19 inoculations next month as India delays shipments of AstraZeneca vaccines, its health minister said on Saturday. India has put a temporary hold on all major exports of the AstraZeneca coronavirus shot made by Serum Institute of India (SII), prioritizing domestic demand as infections rise, Reuters reported earlier this week.

Novartis closes U.S. gene therapy site as Zolgensma sales fell from Q3 to Q4

Novartis is laying off 400 people and closing a U.S. gene therapy location that it bought only two years ago to make its $2.1 million per patient treatment Zolgensma as sales momentum for the most expensive one-time treatment stalled last year. Novartis is closing the Longmont, Colo., plant after buying it from AstraZeneca in 2019, U.S. media including the Denver Business Journal reported. Sales of Zolgensma, a one-time treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, were $254 million in the fourth quarter from about $291 million in the third quarter, company data show.

India’s Modi gifts Bangladesh 1.2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

India gave 1.2 million free doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to Bangladesh on Saturday, its foreign minister said, as Dhaka urged New Delhi to maintain a regular supply of shots to battle the pandemic. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the offering at the end of a two-day tour of Bangladesh to celebrate its 50th independence anniversary. The trip also marked Modi’s first foreign travel since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Serum Institute delays expected launch of Novavax vaccine in India

The launch in India of a new COVID-19 vaccine developed jointly by the Serum Institute of India and U.S.-based biotech firm Novavax is likely to be delayed to September, the Indian company’s boss said on Saturday. Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of Serum, said in January that the vaccine, named Corovax, was expected to be launched by June.

(With inputs from agencies.)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here