Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
French artificial heart maker Carmat targets break-even in 2027
French artificial heart maker Carmat expects to break-even in 2027, it said on Monday, as it gradually resumes implants and faces strong demand in Europe ahead of its commercial launch in the United States. The Aeson implant maker, which targets a U.S. launch in 2026, plans to lift its production to 100 hearts in 2023 and further accelerate to 500 in 2024 and 1,000 in 2027.
Consumer Reports urges dark chocolate makers to reduce lead, cadmium levels
Consumer Reports on Monday urged four chocolate producers to commit by Valentine’s Day to reduce the amounts of lead and cadmium in their dark chocolate products, after testing revealed harmful levels of the heavy metals. In letters to Hershey Co, Mondelez International Inc, Theo Chocolate and Trader Joe’s, Consumer Reports said long-term exposure to the metals can result in nervous system problems, immune system suppression and kidney damage.
Greece detects African swine fever in a wild boar
Greece has detected African swine fever in a wild boar in the north of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) said on Monday. The disease, harmless to humans but highly contagious among pigs, was found in a dead wild boar in a forest in the Serres region, which borders Bulgaria and North Macedonia, WOAH said, citing a report from the Greek authorities.
U.S. FDA proposes shift to annual COVID vaccine shots
The U.S. health regulator on Monday proposed one dose of the latest updated COVID-19 shot annually for healthy adults, similar to the influenza immunization campaign, as it aims to simplify the country’s COVID-vaccine strategy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also asked its panel of external advisers to consider the usage of two COVID vaccine shots a year for some young children, older adults and persons with compromised immunity.The regulator proposed the need for routine selection of variants for updating the vaccine, similar to the way strains for flu vaccines are changed annually, in briefing documents ahead of a meeting of its panel on Thursday.
Chinese pray for health in Lunar New Year as COVID death toll rises
China rang in the Lunar New Year on Sunday with its people praying for health after three years of stress and financial hardship under the pandemic, as officials reported almost 13,000 new deaths caused by the virus between January 13 and 19. Queues stretched for about one kilometre (a half-mile) outside the iconic Lama temple in Beijing, which had been repeatedly shut before COVID-19 restrictions ended in early December, with thousands of people waiting for their turn to pray for their loved ones.
WHO urges ‘immediate action’ after cough syrup deaths
The World Health Organization has called for “immediate and concerted action” to protect children from contaminated medicines after a spate of child deaths linked to cough syrups last year. In 2022, more than 300 children – mainly aged under 5 – in Gambia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan died of acute kidney injury, in deaths that were associated with contaminated medicines, the WHO said in a statement on Monday.
On Ukraine’s frontlines, Polish paramedic tends to wounded soldiers
Damian Duda, a Polish academic and media worker, was only 25 when he first went to Ukraine as a volunteer combat paramedic in 2014, work he describes as his “private crusade”. Almost 10 years on, when Russian bombs started falling over Ukrainian cities at the start of its invasion, he had built up a team of six people with experience on battlefields as far afield as Iraq and Syria.
WHO seeks $2.5 billion to battle health emergencies
The World Health Organization on Monday launched a funding appeal for $2.54 billion to help people facing health emergencies across the world including in conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Ukraine. “More people than ever before face the imminent risk of disease and starvation and need help now,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The world cannot look away and hope these crises resolve themselves.”
EU to aggregate cancer imaging data across bloc in new project
The European Union on Monday launched a project to collect and aggregate cancer imaging data in an effort to speed up innovation and early cancer diagnosis using artificial intelligence. The new European Cancer Imaging Initiative will give clinicians, researchers and innovators “easy access to large amounts of cancer imaging data”, the European Commission said in a statement.
CVS names new pharmacy services, consumer product chiefs
CVS Health Corp said on Monday that David Joyner would return to head the U.S. diversified healthcare company’s pharmacy services and tapped former Cigna Corp executive Amy Bricker as its chief product officer for consumer business. Joyner will become the chief of the pharmacy services segment, which also includes the company’s pharmacy benefits management business Caremark, effective Jan. 30. He will succeed Alan Lotvin, who plans to retire in April, CVS said.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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