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Reuters Health News Summary

Reuters logo Reuters 9/8/2021

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

UK's Exscientia, Gates Foundation partner to develop variant-resistant COVID-19 drugs

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would make a $35 million equity investment in privately owned Exscientia Ltd to fund the development of antiviral drugs including for the coronavirus, the Oxford-based drug developer said on Wednesday. Exscientia will make a matching contribution and lead the development of up to five therapeutics, which are ready to enter human trials. The program will initially focus on agents against the SARS-CoV-2 and its variants as well as other coronaviruses.

Countries should prioritize pregnant, breastfeeding women for COVID-19 shots -PAHO

Countries in the Americas should prioritize pregnant and lactating women in distribution of COVID-19 shots, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday, hailing the ability of the vaccines to protect women and their babies. "PAHO recommends that all pregnant women after their first trimester, as well as those who are breastfeeding, receive the COVID-19 vaccine," PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne said during the organization's weekly virtual briefing.

Australia's NSW reports rise in COVID-19 cases; vaccinations accelerate

Three-quarters of people over the age of 16 in Australia's New South Wales (NSW) have now had at least their first vaccination dose, the state reported on Wednesday, along with the first rise in new infections in three days. Australia has locked down Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities, after outbreaks from the highly infectious Delta variant in June ended months of little or no community transmission.

Mexican president says court ruling on abortion should be respected

The Mexican Supreme Court's unanimous decision on Tuesday to decriminalize abortion should be respected, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday. Speaking at a regular news conference, Lopez Obrador said he felt he should not offer an opinion on the matter beyond what the court had ruled https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/mexico-supreme-court-rules-criminalizing-abortion-is-unconstitutional-2021-09-07, noting there were differing views.

WHO seeks COVID-19 vaccines for poor nations, 'not empty promises'

The World Health Organization on Wednesday said low-income countries were ready to run effective COVID-19 vaccination campaigns and it was now down to manufacturers and rich countries to deliver the pledged doses to ease global health inequalities. About 80% of the 5.5 billion vaccines doses that have been administered globally went to high and upper-middle income countries, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing on Wednesday.

'Failure is not a crime,' defense says in trial of Theranos founder Holmes

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is not a villain but rather a hard-working, young and naive businesswoman whose company simply failed, her lawyer told jurors on Wednesday at the former Silicon Valley star's trial on federal fraud charges involving the now-defunct blood-testing startup once valued at $9 billion. The prosecution and defense painted remarkably different portraits of Holmes in their opening statements to the 12-member jury in one of the most closely watched trials of a U.S. corporate executive in years. The prosecution then called its first witness, a former company executive.

U.S. administers nearly 377 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines - CDC

The United States has administered 376,955,132 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Wednesday morning and distributed 450,584,465 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Those figures are up from the 375,995,378 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by Sept. 7.

Novavax begins early-stage trial for combined influenza/COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine developer Novavax Inc said on Wednesday it has initiated an early-stage study to test its combined flu and COVID-19 vaccine. The trial, to be conducted in Australia, will enroll 640 healthy adults between the ages of 50 and 70 years and who have either been previously infected with the coronavirus or given an authorized COVID-19 vaccine at least eight weeks prior to the study.

EU lists rare nerve disorder as possible side-effect of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Europe's medicines regulator has added an extremely rare nerve-damaging disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome, as a possible side-effect of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, regular safety updates from the watchdog showed on Wednesday. The European Medicines Agency said a causal relationship between GBS and the AstraZeneca shot, known as Vaxzevria, was a "at least a reasonable possibility" after 833 cases of GBS were reported out of 592 million doses of the vaccine given worldwide by July 31.

Factbox - Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

The World Health Organization said low-income countries were ready to run effective COVID-19 vaccination campaigns and it was now down to manufacturers and rich countries to deliver the pledged doses to ease global health inequalities. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

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