Following is a summary of current health news briefs. India’s Uttar Pradesh state has permitted the resumption of most production at a factory owned by Marion Biotech, whose cough syrups Uzbekistan linked to the deaths of 65 children last year, according to an order seen by Reuters. Marion is among three Indian companies whose cough syrups the World Health Organization (WHO) and other agencies have linked to the deaths of 141 children in Uzbekistan, Gambia and Cameroon since the middle of last year, in one of the world’s worst such waves of poisoning.
Shares of dialysis providers drop after Ozempic’s early kidney trial success
Shares of dialysis service providers DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care fell sharply on Wednesday after Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic showed early signs of success in treating kidney failure in diabetes patients. The Danish drugmaker said late on Tuesday it will stop its kidney outcomes trial almost a year ahead of schedule, based on a recommendation from the independent data monitoring board overseeing the study.
EU leads more than 1 billion-euro commitment to eradicate polio
The European Union together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Investment Bank have announced a new financing package of more than 1 billion euros ($1.06 billion) to eradicate polio, the EU and the foundation said on Wednesday. Cases of polio have declined by 99% since the 1990s thanks chiefly to mass vaccination campaigns worldwide.
Labcorp launches 3-part blood test for Alzheimer’s
Labcorp on Wednesday began marketing to U.S. physicians the first test for a trio of blood biomarkers it says can detect the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, accelerating diagnosis of the brain-wasting disease and potentially helping patients access treatment. Labcorp’s Amyloid-Tau-Neurodegeneration (ATN) Profile is not precise enough to definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s, but offers a convenient way for doctors to determine which patients need advanced testing, said Brian Caveney, Labcorp’s chief medical and scientific officer.
Blood tests needed for widespread Alzheimer’s diagnosis on the way
Blood tests for Alzheimer’s are needed to more widely diagnose the brain-wasting disease and understand its prevalence, but it will be another couple of years before they become an everyday tool, medical experts and company executives say. Blood testing is initially likely to be used to rule out Alzheimer’s, with positive results signaling the need for more advanced diagnostics.
Down syndrome families’ fight for access to Alzheimer’s trials, treatments
When Lianor da Cunha Hillerstrom of Lexington, Massachusetts, learned her now 9-year-old son Oskar had Down syndrome, she was concerned but not panicked. As a child, Lianor lived for a time in Santo Amaro de Oeiras, Portugal, near her aunt Teresa who had Down syndrome, which causes intellectual disability. Had Lianor, who is 47, stayed in Portugal, she would have witnessed her aunt decline and then die at age 60 of Alzheimer’s – the most common cause of death for people with Down syndrome.
Idaho abortion ban again partly halted amid appeal
A federal appeals court on Tuesday temporarily limited Idaho’s ability to enforce its near-total abortion ban in medical emergencies while it weighs in on a legal challenge to the ban by the Biden administration. A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month allowed the state to enforce its ban, reversing a lower court order that had partially blocked it. On Tuesday, however, the full 9th Circuit said it would rehear the case with 11 of its judges, automatically voiding the panel’s order for now.
EU food safety agency recommends preventive bird flu vaccination
The European food safety agency (EFSA) is recommending preventative bird flu vaccination for susceptible poultry in areas with a high risk of transmission to stem the spread of a virus that killed tens of millions of birds in the EU last year.
Governments, often shy to use vaccination due to the trade restrictions it can entail, have increasingly considered adopting it due to the devastation bird flu can cause to flocks and to limit the risk of potential transmission between humans.
Insurer Humana’s longtime CEO Broussard to step down next year
Humana CEO Bruce Broussard will step down in the second half of 2024 after more than a decade at the helm, the insurer said on Wednesday and named healthcare veteran Jim Rechtin as his successor. Shares of the company, which grew seven-fold in value under 61-year-old Broussard, fell 2.8% to $486.4 in premarket trading.
GSK settles another California lawsuit on heartburn drug Zantac
GSK on Wednesday said it agreed to settle another lawsuit in California alleging its discontinued heartburn drug Zantac caused cancer, as the British drugmaker sought to end costly litigation that has weighed on shares. The company, which has so far only settled cases in California, did not give the financial details of the settlement but said it was a “non-material” sum.