Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Gilead’s remdesivir fails to show benefit in European trial; no fetus risk seen with first trimester vaccination

The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. Two promising drugs for COVID-19 fail to deliver

Shanghai lockdown deepens after new surge in asymptomatic COVID cases

The major Chinese financial center of Shanghai extended restrictions on transportation on Tuesday after a day of intensive city-wide testing saw new COVID-19 cases surge to more than 13,000, with no end to the lockdown yet in sight. After originally taking a more piecemeal approach aimed at minimising economic disruptions, Shanghai imposed a two-stage lockdown last week as authorities struggled to contain what had become the city’s biggest ever COVID-19 outbreak.

US Senate negotiators reach deal on $ 10 billion for COVID aid

Negotiators in Congress have agreed to an additional $ 10 billion in COVID-19 funding to address US needs but have dropped international aid from the package, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday. The compromise, if passed, would be less than half of the $ 22.5 billion initially sought by US President Joe Biden to combat COVID, prepare for future variants and shore up the nation’s pandemic infrastructure.

Mexico says WTO COVID vaccine deal should go beyond IP waiver

Any World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on COVID-19 vaccines should include more than just a waiver on intellectual property, Mexico’s representative to the trade body said, in a sign that consensus is proving tough to forge. The United States, the European Union, India and South Africa reached a provisional consensus on elements of a long-sought IP waiver for the vaccines, according to a document that circulated among governments last month.

CDC announces revamp plans, hires outside official for review

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday announced plans to revamp itself, with Director Rochelle Walensky hiring an outside senior federal health official to conduct a one-month review. James Macrae, an associate administrator in the Department of Health and Human Services, will join CDC on a one-month assignment from April 11 to listen to and engage with the agency’s COVID-19 response activities, Walensky said in an email to her colleagues.

Theravance Biopharma hypotension drug fails to meet primary goal

Theravance Biopharma Inc said on Monday its experimental drug to treat a form of low-blood pressure failed to show significant improvement in the overall patient population of a late-stage study, but showed a benefit in patients with a rare neurological disorder. The drug, ampreloxetine, was being tested in patients with symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH), a rare disorder where there is a sustained fall in systolic blood pressure within three minutes of standing.

West Virginia says J&J, drugmakers created ‘tsunami’ of opioid addiction

West Virginia’s attorney general on Monday urged a judge to hold Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd, and AbbVie Inc’s Allergan liable for causing a “tsunami” of opioid addiction in the state. The addiction crisis has affected the state’s police forces, hospitals, foster care system and jails, with effects that will linger for more than a generation, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said during opening statements in Kanawha County Circuit Court.

White House says congressional deal on COVID aid won’t meet all “dire” needs

The White House said on Monday said it welcomed progress on an emerging deal in Congress for additional COVID aid but said it would not meet all the “dire” needs that a higher amount of aid would achieve. “We are encouraged by the strong progress that Congress is making in finalizing a deal,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

US FDA advisers to discuss additional COVID vaccine shots, booster design

The US Food and Drug Administration’s expert advisers will discuss the timing of additional COVID-19 vaccine boosters and the people eligible for the extra shots in a meeting later this week, the health agency said on Monday. The independent advisers will also discuss at the April 6 meeting the FDA’s role in how future versions of COVID vaccines are created to help fight new variants.

S.Africa’s COVID state of disaster to end at midnight – Ramaphosa

South Africa’s national state of disaster, in place for more than two years in response to COVID-19, will end from midnight local time on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said. The national state of disaster has been the government’s main mechanism for managing the pandemic. Removing it will do away with the vast majority of remaining COVID-19 restrictions, aside from a few that will remain in place on a transitional basis, Ramaphosa said.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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