Reuters Health News Summary

17 Sep 2020 / 05:00 H.

    Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

    Amid COVID testing chaos, UK says: We're trying to fix it

    Amid growing anger over a bottleneck in Britain's creaking coronavirus testing system, the government promised on Wednesday to do whatever it takes to boost laboratory capacity that has left people across the land with no way to get a COVID-19 test. In an attempt to slow one of the highest coronavirus death tolls in the West, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised in May to create a "world-beating" system to test and trace people exposed to the virus.

    Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of coronavirus

    A COVID-19 vaccine could be broadly rolled out in the United states by the middle of next year or a little later, the head of the federal government's disease control agency said on Wednesday. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

    French COVID cases spike again, ICU figure at three-month high

    The number of French people treated in intensive care units for COVID-19 rose for the twentieth straight day on Wednesday to a three-month high of 803, while the number of new daily cases was the third highest on record. French health authorities reported 9,784 new infections, just below the 10,561 daily all-time high reached on Saturday, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 404,888, the second highest tally in Western Europe behind Spain.

    U.S. plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccine immediately after regulators authorize it

    The U.S. government on Wednesday said it will start distributing a COVID-19 vaccine within one day of regulatory authorization as it plans for the possibility that a limited number of vaccine doses may be available at the end of the year. Officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense on Wednesday held a call with reporters and then released documents on the distribution plans that it is sending to the states and local public health officials.

    Lessons learned from COVID frontline: A Paris hospital refines ICU treatment

    Doctor Alexandre Avenel has four COVID-19 patients in his intensive care ward, all with depleted blood oxygenation levels but none under intubation. That might not have been the case six months ago. As a second wave of coronavirus sweeps across France, and the number of seriously ill patients climbs, intensive care medics say the lessons learned from early in the pandemic are leading to changes in how they treat the sick.

    Common public screening methods unreliable; student athletes may need heart test after COVID-19

    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. COVID-19 screening in public venues is unreliable

    WHO director warns Latin America is opening too early, COVID-19 still a risk

    Latin America has started to resume normal social and public life at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic still requires major control interventions, World Health Organization regional director Carissa Etienne said on Wednesday. Coronavirus cases in Colombia's border area with Venezuela have increased ten-fold in the last two weeks, Etienne said in a virtual briefing from Washington with other Pan American Health Organization directors.

    AstraZeneca's trial illnesses may not be due to COVID-19 shot, Oxford University says

    The adverse events that led to a pause in trials evaluating AstraZeneca Plc's COVID-19 vaccine candidate may not have been associated with the vaccine itself, according to a document outlining participant information that was posted online by the Oxford University. Enrollment in the British drugmaker's global trials of the vaccine, which it is developing with researchers at Oxford University, was paused on Sept. 6, after a participant in its U.K. trial had a serious side effect thought to be a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.

    Canada aims to triple daily coronavirus testing capacity to 200,000

    Canada aims to more than triple its nationwide daily capacity of novel coronavirus tests to 200,000 and the federal government is providing C$4.28 billion ($3.25 billion) to provinces to reach the goal, the government said on Wednesday. The funds are part of the C$19 billion the government allocated for Canada's Safe Restart Agreement reached with the provinces in July to help them restart their economies and contain the pandemic. The money for testing can also be used towards contact tracing and sharing public health data.

    Broad U.S. rollout of coronavirus vaccine could happen mid-2021: CDC

    A COVID-19 vaccine could be broadly rolled out in the United states by the middle of next year or a little later, the head of the federal government's disease control agency said on Wednesday. General availability of a vaccine could come by "late second quarter, third quarter 2021," Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a U.S. Congress panel.

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