Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of coronavirus
The top FDA official on Tuesday confirmed AstraZeneca's U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trial is on hold, saying the agency is planning to do "very significant work" with the company as it conducts its investigation after an illness in a participant in Britain. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
In coronavirus vaccine race, China inoculates thousands before trials are completed
China is inoculating tens of thousands of its citizens with experimental coronavirus vaccines and attracting international interest in their development, despite expert concerns over the safety of drugs that have not completed standard testing. China launched a vaccine emergency use programme in July, offering three experimental shots developed by a unit of state pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and U.S.-listed Sinovac Biotech. A fourth COVID-19 vaccine being developed by CanSino Biologics was approved for use by the Chinese military in June.
Trump says coronavirus vaccine could be weeks away: ABC News town hall
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said a vaccine against the deadly coronavirus could be three or four weeks away, despite cautionary notes sounded by some U.S. public health officials about that accelerated timeline. Trump, speaking at a town hall hosted by ABC News in Philadelphia, defended his handling of the coronavirus crisis, and said a vaccine could be ready for distribution before the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3.
Pfizer says coronavirus vaccine study shows mostly mild-to-moderate side effects
Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday participants were showing mostly mild-to-moderate side effects when given either the company's experimental coronavirus vaccine or a placebo in an ongoing late-stage study. The company said in a presentation to investors that side effects included fatigue, headache, chills and muscle pain. Some participants in the trial also developed fevers - including a few high fevers. The data is blinded, meaning Pfizer does not know which patients received the vaccine or a placebo.
U.S. FDA's Hahn plans 'significant' work with AstraZeneca in COVID-19 trial inquiry
The top U.S. Food and Drug Administration official on Tuesday confirmed AstraZeneca Plc's U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trial is on hold, saying the agency is planning to do "very significant work" with the company as it conducts its investigation after an illness in a participant in Britain. "We're here to protect the American public and we're going to do very significant work with the company to figure out if there's a significant safety issue or not," FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said during an Instagram Live interview with Republican U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.
Japan commits $165 million to WHO's global coronavirus vaccine programme
Japan said on Tuesday it has committed 17.2 billion yen ($165 million) in funds for its participation in the World Health Organization's COVID-19 vaccine programme. The programme, known as COVAX, is aimed at helping buy and fairly distribute vaccination shots against the novel coronavirus around the world. But some countries which have secured their own supplies through bilateral deals, including the United States, have said they will not join.
U.S. COVID-19 death analysis shows greater toll on Black, Hispanic youth: CDC
A disproportionate percentage of U.S. COVID-19 deaths have been recorded among Black and Hispanic people younger than 21, according to a U.S. study, a reflection of the racial and ethnic make-up of essential workers who have more exposure to COVID-19. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that from Feb. 12 through July 31, there were 121 deaths among people younger than the age of 21 in 27 states.
Explainer: Reaching herd immunity in a viral pandemic
The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought "herd immunity" to the public consciousness, kindling hope the phenomenon can help slow or even end the outbreak. Herd immunity refers to a large portion of a community developing a degree of immunity to a virus, thereby reducing person-to-person spread. As a result, the whole community gains protection, not just those who are immune.
India's coronavirus cases surpass 5 million mark
India's coronavirus cases surged past 5 million on Wednesday with a single-day jump of 90,123 infections in the last 24 hours, data from the federal health ministry showed. India is only the second country in the world to cross the grim milestone of 5 million cumulative cases, after the United States.
Apple rolls out virtual fitness service, subscription bundle, catering to pandemic work-from-home
Apple Inc rolled out a new virtual fitness service and a bundle of all its subscriptions, Apple One, focusing a holiday-season product launch on services that are the backbone of Apple's growth strategy and that cater to customers working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple also introduced a new Apple Watch Series 6 that monitors blood oxygen and will cost $399 and a more basic Apple Watch SE for $279.