Here is a summary of health news briefs.
Thailand reports record 23,557 new coronavirus cases
Thailand reported a record daily increase of 23,557 new coronavirus infections on Thursday as the country grapples with an outbreak caused by the Omicron variant. The Southeast Asian country also reported 38 new deaths, according to the country’s COVID-19 center.
Deadly bird flu hits Delaware poultry farm with 1.2 million birds
A Delaware commercial poultry farm with 1.2 million birds has been hit by a highly deadly form of bird flu, the state announced Wednesday, dramatically expanding an outbreak that has killed U.S. chickens and turkeys. The outbreak brings the total number of U.S. commercial poultry affected by the disease to about 1.65 million over the past two weeks.
COVID surges in New Zealand, anti-mandates protesters chase Ardern
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was kicked out of a school event in Christchurch on Thursday after protesters opposing restrictive COVID measures swarmed the venue and chased her car, while the number of daily infections soared to levels records.
New Zealand has reported more than 6,000 new cases of COVID-19, with 250 hospitalizations, and the government expects the outbreak to peak in mid-March.
Sanofi and GSK seek approval of COVID vaccine candidate
French drugmaker Sanofi and its British partner GlaxoSmithKline are seeking regulatory approval for their COVID-19 vaccine to be used as a booster, as well as a standalone two-dose vaccine, after several setbacks. The companies said on Wednesday they intended to submit data from a late-stage trial of the vaccine and another testing it as a booster to regulators, with full results from both studies to be released “more later this year.”
COVID vaccine supply for global program exceeds demand for first time
The global COVID-19 vaccine sharing project is struggling to place more than 300 million doses in the latest sign that the world’s immunization problem is now more of a demand than a supply issue. Last year, rich countries took most of the available vaccines to inoculate their own citizens first, meaning less than a third of people in low-income countries have been vaccinated so far, compared to more 70% in richer countries.
WHO announces second center to train countries in making COVID vaccines
The World Health Organization said on Wednesday it had set up a center in South Korea to train low- and middle-income countries to produce their own vaccines and therapies and was expanding its COVID-19 vaccine project to five other countries. The new training center comes after the UN agency set up a technology transfer center in Cape Town, South Africa last year to give businesses in poor and middle-income countries the know-how do necessary to produce COVID-19 vaccines based on mRNA technology.
US FDA restricts use of GlaxoSmithKline-Vir COVID-19 drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotech’s COVID-19 antibody treatment should not be used in places where variants that are not susceptible to the drug are circulating. Vir said the drug, sotrovimab, retains neutralizing activity against the emerging BA.2 form of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
COVID-19 shooting interval may be extended to 8 weeks for some -US CDC
Extending the interval between the first two doses of the nation’s most widely used COVID-19 vaccines to eight weeks for young men may reduce the rare risk of heart inflammation, U.S. health officials said. The side effect, which has been linked to the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, is higher in men ages 12 to 39, and so the eight-week interval might be optimal for some 12-year-olds. and more, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.
US pregnancy deaths show disproportionate toll for black women in first year of pandemic – report
In the United States, black women were nearly three times more likely to die during or soon after pregnancy in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic than white women, according to a government report released Wednesday. Overall, as the pandemic took hold, the number of maternal deaths increased by 14% to 861 in 2020 from 754 in 2019, according to the National Center for Health Statistics report.
COVID increases risk of mental health issues; new version of Omicron does not make people sicker in South Africa
Here is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that deserves further study to corroborate the findings and that has not yet been certified by peer review. Coronavirus infection increases risk of mental health problems
(With agency contributions.)