Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Switzerland experiencing medicine shortages says pharmacists association
Switzerland is experiencing medicine shortages due to supply chain issues linked to COVID lockdowns in China and war in Europe, the country’s pharmacists association said. “We have the biggest problems with children’s medications, especially fever-reducing syrup,” Enea Martinelli from pharmaSuisse told Swiss broadcaster SRF.
U.S. FDA declines to approve Spectrum’s lung cancer drug
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Friday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declined to approve its experimental lung cancer drug due to inadequate data, prompting the drugmaker to cut jobs. The company said it will no longer focus on developing the drug, poziotinib, for treating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with a rare genetic mutation that affects 2%-4% of the cancer patients. It will instead explore strategic alternatives for it, such as partnerships with other drugmakers.
China’s widening COVID-19 curbs trigger public pushback
Frustration simmered on Friday among residents and business groups in China navigating stricter COVID-19 control curbs as the country reported another record high of daily infections just weeks after hopes had been raised of easing measures. The resurgence of COVID cases in China, with 32,695 new local infections recorded for Thursday as numerous cities report outbreaks, has prompted widespread lockdowns and other curbs on movement and business, as well as pushback.
In Britain, nurses prepare for unprecedented strike over pay
Chukwudubem Ifeajuna, a nurse in the south of England, loves his job, but next month will walk out for two days as part of British nurses’ biggest ever strike action, which he says is necessary for staff and patient welfare alike. The industrial action on Dec. 15 and Dec. 20 is unprecedented in the British nursing union’s 106-year history, and comes as the state-run National Health Service (NHS) braces for one of its toughest winters ever.
Protests erupt in Xinjiang and Beijing after deadly fire
Public anger in China towards widening COVID-19 lockdowns across the country erupted into rare protests in China’s far western Xinjiang region and the country’s capital of Beijing, as nationwide infections set another record. Crowds took to the streets on Friday night in Xinjiang’s capital of Urumqi, chanting “End the lockdown!” and pumping their fists in the air, after a deadly fire on Thursday triggered anger over their prolonged COVID-19 lockdown according to videos circulated on Chinese social media on Friday night.
British nurses to stage first strikes on Dec. 15, 20
Thousands of British nurses will go on strike on Dec. 15 and 20 for more pay, their union said on Friday, adding to a winter of industrial action and putting further pressure on the state-run health system. The strikes are the first of possibly several walkouts by National Health Service (NHS) nurses, which come after the government refused to meet demands for pay rises of 5% above inflation.
UK open to talks over nurses strike, but stands by previous pay offer – minister
British Health Secretary Steve Barclay said on Friday he was open to talks with nurses union RCN but highlighted the merits of a pay rise that was set out by the government in July.
Responding to news that nurses are set to carry out their biggest ever strike action, Barclay emphasised that a previously announced pay rise of at least 1,400 pounds ($1,695.26) will mean a newly qualified nurse will typically earn over 31,000 pounds a year.
China reports third consecutive daily record for new COVID cases
China reported 35,183 new COVID-19 infections on Nov. 25, of which 3,474 were symptomatic and 31,709 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Saturday, setting a new high for the third consecutive day. That compared with 32,943 new cases a day earlier – 3,103 symptomatic and 29,840 asymptomatic infections, which China counts separately.
Researchers test mRNA technology for universal flu vaccine
An experimental vaccine provided broad protection against all 20 known influenza A and B virus subtypes in initial tests in mice and ferrets, potentially opening a pathway to a universal flu shot that might help prevent future pandemics, according to a U.S. study published on Thursday. The two-dose vaccine employs the same messenger RNA (mRNA)technology used in the COVID-19 shots developed by Pfizer with BioNTech, and by Moderna. It delivers tiny lipid particles containing mRNA instructions for cells to create replicas of so-called hemagglutinin proteins that appear on influenza virus surfaces.
Clitoris reconstruction offers hope to Kenyan women after childhood mutilation
Imagine having no sensation in a body part for most of your life and then being able to feel it at last. That was the transformation being sought by about 60 Kenyan women who had undergone female genital mutilation, or FGM, during childhood and came forward for reconstructive surgery of the clitoris during a recent humanitarian operation in Nairobi.
(With inputs from agencies.)