05:33 GMT22 June 2021
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    According to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks global coronavirus data, there have been around 174.3 million COVID-19 cases worldwide, with the global death toll from the pandemic currently standing at 3.7 million.

    The United States remains the worst-hit country, with almost 33.4 million infected; at least 598,764 Americans have died during the pandemic. India ranks second, with more than 29.2 million cases and 359,676 deaths, followed by Brazil with over 17.1 million cases and around 479,515  deaths.

    Meanwhile, US media reported that the Biden administration is planning to purchase 500 million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for global distribution. This comes as US President Joe Biden earlier told reporters that he plans to announce his global vaccine strategy while in Europe next week.

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    • 18:53

      UK COVID-19 Variant Accounts for Over 70% of Cases 4 Months After US Arrival, CDC Says

      The B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant from the United Kingdom that accounted for less than 1 percent of US infections at the beginning of the year, became the dominant strain responsible for more an estimated 72 percent of infections in just over four months, a report published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said on Thursday.

      “The B.1.1.7 VOC represented an estimated 0.2 percent of US infections during the 2-week period ending January 2 and increased to 66.0 percent during the 2-week period e ding April 24,” the report said.

      During the latter period, the P.1 variant from Brazil accounted for about 5 percent of US infections, the report said.

      The April estimates were based on genetic testing of 25,000 samples from positive COVID-19 test specimens collected in 10 regions of the US.

      However, a subsequent extrapolation of the April data using computer modeling yielded an estimate that the UK variant comprised 72.4 percent of US infections during the two week period ending May 8, the report added.

       

    • 18:51

      Germany to Offer Booster Shots to Senior Citizens in Autumn, Merkel Says

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel said states would begin giving COVID-19 booster shots to senior citizens in fall after warning that the outbreak was not over.

      "We will have to begin vaccinating the elderly again in fall. That is we will be administering additional shots. So, vaccination centers will stay open," she told reporters.

      Germany removed priority limits on who may receive a shot on June 7, allowing people aged 12 and over to sign up for an appointment. The government plans to have those who want it vaccinated by the end of summer.

      Merkel, who spoke after a conference with regional governors, said that she was encouraged by infection trends but admitted that her government was concerned about the "more aggressive" Indian variant spreading in the United Kingdom.

    • 18:50

      Pfizer Vaccine Effective Against All Existing COVID-19 Variants, CEO Claims

      No COVID-19 variant has escaped the protection of Pfizer's vaccine, but the company continues to monitor and test it against emerging strains around the world, CEO Albert Bourla said on Thursday.

      "We are also closely monitoring and addressing the emerging variants. We are testing our vaccines’ response to newly-arising variants and coordinating with public health authorities around the world on surveillance efforts... none of the existing variant strains has escaped the protection provided by our vaccine," Bourla said.

      Bourla added, however, that Pfizer has developed a process to manufacture a new vaccine for the emerging strains within 100 days if need be.

      In late May, the World Health Organization issued a new list of labels for so-called variants of concern, including the Delta variant, first identified in India, which now makes up more than 60% of new cases in the UK and more than 6% in the US.

      The statement was made alongside President Joe Biden, who announced that Pfizer has agreed to partner with the US to donate half a billion vaccines to lower income countries around the world. After purchasing the vaccines from Pfizer, the US plans on delivering 200 million doses by the end of 2021 and another 300 million in the first half of 2022 to 92 low and middle-income countries.

    • 18:18

      Biden Says G7 to Announce on Friday Further Steps on Fighting COVID-19 Pandemic

      The G7 member states will announce later this week a collective initiative to further help combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday.

      "This US contribution is the foundation for additional coordinated efforts to help vaccinate the world... Tomorrow the G7 nations will be announcing the full scope of our commitment," Biden said during a press conference in the United Kingdom.

    • 16:40

      Hospital Waiting List in England Soared to Record High 5Mln in Late April

      The number of people waiting for a routine hospital treatment in England soared to a record high of 5.12 million at the end of April due to disruption to health care caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Health Service (NHS) reported on Thursday.

      According to the NHS, more than 436,000 patients were waiting longer than 52 weeks for hospital treatments by the end of March this year, up from 387,000 in February, in an increase of almost 50,000 in a single month.

      The latest official data underlines the challenge the England health service has faced since the pandemic struck in the UK, with hospitals forced to cancel thousands of routine operations to treat over 400,000 COVID-19 patients.

      The NHS said, however, that with cases receding as a result of the vaccination campaign, the number of people admitted for routine treatment in hospitals was up 6 percent in March 2021 compared with a year earlier.

      Another sign of improvement was that the average wait time for operations fell last month from 12.6 weeks to 11.6 weeks, while in July, 2020 it was almost 20 weeks.

      Commenting on the report, NHS national medical director Stephen Powis said that despite the extensive disruption caused by the pandemic, it was "encouraging" to see that routine operations, cancer treatments and mental health care are now rebounding sharply.

    • 16:39

      Moderna Requests Emergency Use Authorization for Coronavirus Vaccine for Adolescents

      The biotechnology company Moderna announced on Thursday that it has filed a request with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization of its coronavirus vaccine on adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18.

      “We are pleased to announce that we have submitted for an emergency use authorization for our COVID-19 vaccine with the FDA for use in adolescents in the United States,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said.

      In May, Moderna announced the results from its study of the vaccine’s use in adolescents, which determined that the vaccine efficacy in the nearly 2,500 adolescents who received the vaccine was 100%.

      Moderna said it did not observe any significant safety issues, with the majority of adverse events being mild or moderate in severity. The most common adverse reactions were injection site pain, headache, fatigue, myalgia and chills, it said.

    • 16:18

      Patients Who Receive Oxygen Therapy Show Reduced Grey Matter Volume, Study Shows

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    • 15:34

      Italy Reports Over 2,000 COVID Cases on Thu, 88 New Deaths

    • 15:22

      Russia's Output Capacity Insufficient to Export EpiVacCorona, CoviVac Vaccines, Minister Says

      Export of Russian coronavirus vaccines EpiVacCorona and CoviVac is not in the immediate plans as demand in foreign markets exceeds the current production capacity, Trade Minister Denis Manturov said on Thursday.

      "Indeed, foreign countries begin to display great interest in Russian vaccines, particularly EpiVacCorona and CoviVac. But our main task today is to meet the demand in our country. The production volume of both, EpiVacCorona and CoviVac, does not fully meet the demand to supply foreign markets today," Manturov told reporters.

      The minister said it might be possible to boost the production capacity by the end of the year when manufacturers, namely the Nanolek pharmaceutical company, scale up the manufacturing of CoviVac.

      In addition to EpiVacCorona and CoviVac, Russia has authorized two more homegrown vaccines — Sputnik V and its single-dose version, Sputnik Light. Only Sputnik V is now manufactured in volumes enough to be supplied abroad.

    • 10:41

      Argentina Calls on Int'l Community to Change Global COVID-19 Vaccine Patents Distribution

    • 10:38

      US to Donate 500 Million COVID-19 Vaccines to Dozens of Low-Income Countries, White House Says

    • 09:13

      Russia Records 11,699 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours, Response Centre Says

    • 07:44

      European Parliament Calls for COVID-19 Vaccine Patent Waiver to Speed Up Immunisation

    • 06:20

      Taiwan Registers 263 New Coronavirus Cases Over Past 24 Hours

    • 04:32

      COVID-19 Death Toll in Indian State of Bihar Rises 73% After Health Authorities Revise Data

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