Reuters Health News Summary

14 Jan 2021 / 20:59 H.

    Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

    Moscow says approval of non-Russian COVID-19 vaccines possible: TASS

    Russia could approve non-Russian vaccines against COVID-19, including the shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, TASS cited the head of state healthcare regulator Roszdravnadzor as saying on Thursday. Russia, which has the world's fourth-highest number of COVID-19 cases, plans to begin mass vaccinations next week.

    New York pleads for more COVID-19 vaccine as daily U.S. death toll hits record

    As the United States recorded its highest single-day death toll since the coronavirus pandemic began nearly a year ago, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday said the city would fall short of its innoculation goals unless it could gain access to more vaccine. The mayor said short supplies were hampering New York City's efforts to ramp up its vaccinating capacity. His appeal comes as the country as a whole struggles to meet an overall goals, with vaccinations now running far behind a targed of 20 million people by now.

    Record 4.5 million people on English hospital waiting lists in November

    A record 4.5 million people in England were awaiting non-urgent hospital treatment in November and the number waiting for more than a year has soared, figures showed, underscoring the pressures on hospitals swamped by the COVID-19 crisis. NHS England said essential services were maintained at the end of the year and cancer treatments and referrals were back to usual levels.

    Team from WHO heads to China in search of COVID origins

    An international team of scientists led by the World Health Organization was set to arrive in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday to investigate the origins of the novel coronavirus that sparked the pandemic. The United States, which has accused China of having hidden the extent of its initial outbreak a year ago, has called for a "transparent" WHO-led investigation and criticised the terms of the visit, under which Chinese experts have done the first phase of research.

    Brazil to start COVID vaccinations on Jan 21, says Senator

    Brazil is set to begin vaccinations against COVID-19 on Jan. 21, Senator Nelsinho Trad tweeted on Thursday, citing a conversation with Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello. President Jair Bolsonaro is under mounting pressure for the slow pace of Brazil's vaccine rollout. The government has declined to give an official start date, but has said inoculations could begin on Jan. 20 in a best-case scenario.

    Lonza awaits licence for Swiss plant making Moderna COVID-19 vaccine ingredients

    A new Swiss production line where contract drugmaker Lonza is making active ingredients for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is still awaiting a regulator's licence necessary before the ingredients can be used. Lonza said this week it had begun manufacturing drug ingredients at the production line, one of three being erected in Visp, Switzerland, and expects its first batch this month.

    COVID-19 infection gives some immunity, but virus can still be spread, study finds

    People who have had COVID-19 are highly likely to have immunity to it for at least five months, but there is evidence that those with antibodies may still be able to carry and spread the virus, a study of British healthcare workers has found. Preliminary findings by scientists at Public Health England (PHE) showed that reinfections in people who have COVID-19 antibodies from a past infection are rare - with only 44 cases found among 6,614 previously infected people in the study.

    What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

    Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: Infection, immunity and spread

    Germany plays catch-up in bid to monitor coronavirus mutations

    Germany wants to jump-start gene sequencing efforts to closely track coronavirus mutations and catch up with European nations such as Britain and Denmark which have taken the lead on decoding viral genomes. More contagious coronavirus variants are believed by scientists to have fuelled a surge in global coronavirus cases which have now passed 90 million, and nations are racing to procure vaccines and tighten lockdown measures.

    Hungary embarks on approval process for Sinopharm COVID vaccine: foreign minister's spokesman

    Hungary has embarked on the approval process for the Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine developed by the company's Beijing-based affiliate that got approved in China in December, the Hungarian foreign minister's spokesman said on Thursday. "The approval process ... is under way ...under guidance of Hungarian experts," Tamas Menczer said in a reply to emailed questions from Reuters.

    email blast