Reuters Health News Summary

24 Nov 2020 / 04:59 H.

    Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

    U.S. prepares for first COVID-19 shots as another vaccine candidate emerges

    U.S. officials prepared to begin inoculating Americans against the novel coronavirus by mid-December as another global drug company on Monday announced promising trial results toward a vaccine, providing hope as the pace of infections accelerated.

    The head of the U.S. campaign to rapidly deploy a vaccine said on Sunday that U.S. healthcare workers and other high-risk people could start getting shots within a day or two of regulatory consent next month.

    Italy's COVID-19 death toll passes 50,000, with 630 new fatalities

    Italy reported 630 COVID 19-related deaths on Monday, rising from 562 the day before and taking the official toll since its outbreak began in February to 50,453, according to health ministry data. Italy, the first Western country to be hit by the epidemic, becomes the sixth nation in the world to surpass 50,000 deaths, and the second in Europe after Britain.

    U.S. CDC reports 255,958 deaths from coronavirus

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday reported 12,175,921 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 147,840 from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 882 to 255,958. The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, caused by a new coronavirus, as of 4 pm ET on Nov. 22 versus its previous report a day earlier.(

    AstraZeneca says COVID-19 'vaccine for the world' can be 90% effective

    AstraZeneca said on Monday its COVID-19 vaccine could be as much as 90% effective, giving the world's fight against the global pandemic a third new weapon that can be cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale-up than rivals. The British drugmaker said it will have as many as 200 million doses by the end of 2020, around four times as many as U.S. competitor Pfizer Inc. Seven hundred million doses could be ready globally as soon as the end of the first quarter of 2021.

    U.S. to begin distributing Regeneron's COVID-19 antibody therapy Tuesday

    The U.S. government will start distributing Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc's newly authorized COVID-19 antibody combination on Tuesday, beginning with over 30,000 treatment courses, a health official said on Monday. U.S. officials on a call with reporters said doses will be allocated based on which states have the highest numbers of confirmed cases and hospitalizations, both of which are currently soaring nationwide.

    Canada could approve COVID-19 vaccines early next year: regulator

    Canada could approve one or more COVID-19 vaccines early in the first quarter of 2021, under a new, accelerated process similar to the U.S. emergency use authorization, according to Health Canada, the country's drug regulator. An interim order signed by Canada's health minister on Sept. 16 created an expedited, temporary review system for COVID-19 drugs or vaccines, which otherwise could have taken a year to evaluate.

    Decades of work, and half a dose of fortune, drove Oxford vaccine success

    It took Oxford University's brightest minds decades of work to give them the expertise to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. In the end, it was a momentary error - and a dose of good fortune - that carried them over the line. The Oxford vaccinologists were exhilarated on Monday when drugmaker AstraZeneca, with whom they developed the shot, announced that it could be around 90% effective, citing data from late-stage trials.

    Latest on worldwide spread of the coronavirus

    Positive results from AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine trial boosted hopes of a faster end to the pandemic as several countries announced plans to start inoculating their citizens, even as Europe prepared for Christmas with restrictions on family gatherings and instructions not to hug. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

    UK says COVID-19 'Test and Trace' system cost to rise to 22 billion pounds

    The British government announced a 7-billion-pound ($9.3-billion) increase in funding for its COVID-19 testing and contact tracing system on Monday, as part of an expanded programme of mass testing and plans to test frontline staff more regularly. The 'Test and Trace' system has been heavily criticised after a series of high-profile failures since its launch earlier this year, and ministers concede it has not performed as well as they had hoped.

    AstraZeneca vaccine can be up to 90% effective; COVID-19 reinfection unlikely for at least six months

    The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine shows up to 90% efficacy

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