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Health News Roundup: CureVac files expanded patent lawsuit against Pfizer/BioNTech over mRNA technology; Brazil investigates four more suspect cases of avian flu in wild birds and more


Below is a summary of current health news briefings.

CureVac has filed an expanding lawsuit against Pfizer/BioNTech over mRNA technology

CureVac NV said on Friday that it had filed an expanded patent infringement lawsuit against Pfizer Inc and BioNTech over the use of mRNA technology and that a US court granted its motion to move the trial. The company said it has filed a counterclaim alleging that Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech infringed on nine of its patents, a broader scope than its original claim of three patents.

Brazil is investigating four more suspected cases of avian influenza in wild birds

Brazil is investigating four more possible new cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in wild birds, according to authorities in the state of Espírito Santo, where Brazil’s first-ever cases were confirmed this week. After the birds showed symptoms consistent with H5N1, all four were sampled, all from a species of Thalasseus acuflavidus (Cabot artichoke), according to a statement from the Agency for Agriculture, Supply, Aquaculture and Fisheries in Espiritu Santo on Friday.

The Animal Health Authority urges vaccination against bird flu to avoid a pandemic

The head of the World Animal Health Organization (WOAH) said governments should consider vaccinating birds against bird flu to avoid the virus – which has already killed hundreds of millions of birds and infected mammals worldwide – turning into a new pandemic. The severity of the current outbreak of avian influenza, commonly known as avian influenza, and the economic and personal damage it has caused, has prompted governments to reconsider vaccination of poultry. However, some, such as the United States, remain hesitant mainly because of the trade restrictions that this may entail.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Genmab-AbbVie for leukemia treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a leukemia treatment offered by AbbVie Inc and Danish drugmaker Genmab for adult patients who have received at least two previous lines of treatment, the companies said on Friday. The treatment, epcoritamab, which will be sold under the brand name Epkinly, treats a type of advanced large B-cell lymphoma, a cancer that begins in white blood cells.

FDA panel votes against approval of fatty liver drug Intercept, citing safety issues

Concerned about the safety of Intercept Pharmaceuticals’ oral drug for a type of fatty liver disease, a panel of U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisors recommended Friday that it delay the drug’s fast-track approval. The panel of outside experts voted 15 to 1 against approval of obeticholic acid (OCA) based on surrogate biomarker data indicating that it is likely to benefit patients with NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) and cirrhosis or scarring of the liver.

Nebraska lawmakers pass restrictions on abortion and Medicare for transgender people

Nebraska lawmakers on Friday passed a bill limiting abortion and placing restrictions on gender-affirming Medicare for transgender youth, in one piece of legislation that collides with two deeply divisive issues. The bill, which Republican Gov. Jim Belin is expected to sign, would ban abortions after 12 weeks of gestation, making Nebraska the latest state to impose restrictions after the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last year.

The World Health Organization recommends that new COVID shots should only target XBB variants

An advisory group for the World Health Organization on Thursday recommended an update to this year’s COVID-19 booster shots to target one of the currently prevalent XBB variants. The advisory group said the new formulations should aim to produce antibody responses to XBB.1.5 or XBB.1.16 variants, adding that other formulations or platforms that achieve neutralizing antibody responses against XBB strains could also be considered.

Study: Obesity medication brings heart-healthy benefits along with weight loss

New research from the United States shows that taking a new obesity drug from Novo Nordisk may help reduce the risk of heart disease as well as increase weight loss. After a year of taking semaglutide, marketed as Wegovy, patients’ risk of having a disease such as a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years dropped to 6.3% from 7.6% when measured by a commonly used calculator, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic. is found.

Montana may sign a gender-determining law, raising concerns about transgender rights

Montana could become the fourth state to pass a law defining gender as “male” or “female” and immutable, raising concern among LGBT advocates who see such legislation as the next direction in Republican bills that limit transgender rights. . Greg Gianforte, who has already passed a bill to ban gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors this year, has until Sunday to sign or veto the new legislation, Senate Bill 458, or return it to the legislature for amendments.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved gene therapy for a skin disorder from Krystal Biotech

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Krystal Biotech Inc.’s first-of-its-kind topical gene therapy for patients with an inherited skin disorder, sending its shares up 7% in afternoon trading. Patients with the rare dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa have open wounds that cause skin infections and are at increased risk of vision loss, scarring, and skin cancer. Most patients rarely live past the age of 30.

(With input from the agencies.)

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