Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Thailand introduced new entry regulations as China reopens border
Thailand will require international travelers to show proof they are fully vaccinated for COVID before flying to Thailand, according to the country’s aviation regulator, as it prepares for more tourists after China reopened its border on Sunday. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said in a statement on Saturday that starting early Monday, all foreign arrivals starting early on Monday must prove they are vaccinated or provide a letter certifying that they have recovered from COVID within six months.
China says talks to include Paxlovid in its health insurance drug list fail
China will not include Pfizer Inc’s Paxlovid in an update to its list of medicines covered by basic medical insurance schemes as the U.S. firm quoted a high price for the COVID-19 drug, China’s Healthcare Security Administration (NHSA) said on Sunday. The COVID-19 antiviral drug is currently covered by the country’s broad healthcare insurance scheme under temporary measures the regulator introduced in March last year as outbreaks rose.
UK PM Sunak to meet health service leaders as crisis drags on
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will on Saturday meet leaders of England’s health service, as it faces one of its toughest ever winters as flu and COVID-19 spread amid strike action by frontline staff who say high inflation has eroded their salaries. Ambulances have been queuing outside hospitals, facing long waits to hand over patients to emergency wards as doctors and nurses, hampered by worker shortages, struggle to discharge patients amid staff shortages.
China in talks with Pfizer for generic COVID drug – sources
China is in talks with Pfizer Inc to secure a licence that will allow domestic drugmakers to manufacture and distribute a generic version of the U.S. firm’s COVID-19 antiviral drug Paxlovid in China, three sources told Reuters. China’s medical products regulator – the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) – has been leading the talks with Pfizer since late last month, one of the sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Factbox-Who can get the newly approved Eisai and Biogen Alzheimer’s drug?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Eisai Co Ltd and Biogen Inc’s Alzheimer’s drug lecanemab for the treatment of early forms of the fatal, brain-wasting disease. Like their earlier Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, lecanemab, to be sold under the brand name Leqembi, belongs to a class of treatments that aim to slow disease progression by removing sticky clumps of the toxic protein beta amyloid from the brain.
China reopens borders in final farewell to zero-COVID
Travellers streamed into China by air, land and sea on Sunday, many eager for long-awaited reunions, as Beijing opened borders that have been all but shut since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. After three years, mainland China opened sea and land crossings with Hong Kong and ended a requirement for incoming travellers to quarantine, dismantling a final pillar of a zero-COVID policy that had shielded China’s 1.4 billion people from the virus but also cut them off from the rest of the world.
Eisai, Biogen get U.S. FDA approval for Alzheimer’s drug, apply for full approval
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the Alzheimer’s drug lecanemab developed by Eisai Co Ltd and Biogen Inc for patients in the earliest stages of the mind-wasting disease. Eisai and Biogen said on Saturday the Japanese drugmaker had applied for full FDA approval of the drug.
Chinese-made mRNA vaccine starts trial production
China’s CanSino Biologics Inc has entered the “test production phase” for its COVID-19 mRNA booster vaccine, the company said in a post on its social media account late on Thursday. The vaccine, known as CS-2034, targets new Omicron variants of the virus, which are responsible for the vast majority of infections that have swept across China since the country began dismantling strict COVID curbs last month.
(With inputs from agencies.)