Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S. CDC ends country-specific COVID travel health notices
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday it had ended its COVID-19 country travel health notices as fewer countries reported enough data for accurate assessments. In April, CDC dropped its “Do Not Travel” COVID-19 recommendations for about 90 international destinations, saying it would its reserve Level 4 travel health notices “for special circumstances.” Level 4 calls for all Americans avoiding travel because of COVID-19, even those who are fully vaccinated.
Pakistani hospital overwhelmed as water-borne illnesses spread
The emergency ward at the main government hospital in Sehwan, a small town in southern Pakistan, is overwhelmed. On a recent visit, Reuters witnessed hundreds of people crammed into rooms and corridors, desperately seeking treatment for malaria and other illnesses that are spreading fast after the country’s worst floods in decades.
AstraZeneca pays 660% premium for gene therapy firm LogicBio
Shares of LogicBio Therapeutics skyrocketed on Monday after Britain’s AstraZeneca’s said it would buy the U.S.-based gene therapy developer at a rare 660% premium for $68 million. LoigBio’s shares, which have traded below $1 since February, were up 637% at $2 before the bell, close to AstraZeneca’s offer price of $2.07 per share.
Grifols appoints executive chairman as seeks to speed recovery
Grifols appointed an executive chairman on Monday, as the Spanish pharmaceutical company strives to recover from a pandemic-related hit and a 49% drop in its shares so far this year. Steven F. Mayer, an independent board member since 2011 and a former senior managing director of Cerberus Global Private Equity, will become executive chairman, effective immediately.
Supreme Court turns away challenge to U.S. vaccine rule for health workers
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge by Missouri and nine other states – mostly Republican-led – to President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for workers in healthcare facilities that receive federal funds. The justices turned away an appeal by the states after a lower court declined to immediately consider their claims that the vaccine rule violates federal administrative law and tramples over powers reserved for the states under the U.S. Constitution. The Democratic president’s administration issued the rule in November 2021.
Norwegian Cruise Line to eliminate COVID-19 testing, masking requirements
Norwegian Cruise Line said on Monday it was easing COVID-19 safety measures on its ships by dropping requirements for testing, masking and vaccination, as the pandemic loosens its grip on the world. The decision by the cruise line comes after several countries lifted testing requirements for international air travelers as people return to pre-pandemic lifestyles across the globe.
Swedish geneticist wins Nobel medicine prize for decoding ancient DNA
Swedish geneticist Svante Paabo won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday for discoveries that underpin our understanding of how modern day people evolved from extinct ancestors at the dawn of human history. Paabo’s work demonstrated practical implications during the COVID-19 pandemic when he found that people infected with the virus who carry a gene variant inherited from Neanderthals are more at risk of severe illness than whose who do not.
U.S. Supreme Court turns away Biogen bid to reinstate MS drug patent
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Biogen Inc’s bid to win reinstatement of a patent on the company’s blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera in a dispute with Viatris Inc subsidiary Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. The justices turned away Biogen’s appeal of a lower court’s decision to invalidate the patent in a ruling that helped clear the way for Mylan’s generic version of Tecfidera.
Cholera kills at least seven in Haiti as disease returns
Haiti on Sunday said at least seven people have died of cholera in a surprise return of the disease that comes as the nation is paralyzed by a gang blockade that has triggered shortages of fuel and clean drinking water. The disease killed some 10,000 people through a 2010 outbreak that has been blamed on a United Nations peacekeeping force. The Pan American Health Organization in 2020 said Haiti had gone a year with no confirmed cholera cases.
Worst ever bird flu crisis in Europe raises risks for next season – EFSA
Europe has experienced its worst bird flu crisis ever this year with nearly 50 million poultry culled, and the persistence of the virus over the summer has raised the risk of widespread infections next season, the EU’s Food Safety Agency (EFSA) said. The spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), commonly called bird flu, is a concern for governments and the poultry industry due to the devastation it can cause to flocks, the possibility of trade restrictions and a risk of human transmission.