Britain announced Tuesday that it needed to enrol an additional 6,000 patients in a trial of Merck’s COVID-19 antiviral tablet molnupiravir to determine how the drug can be expanded extensively.
INFECTIONS AND DEATHS
* The US Food and Drug Administration updated the emergency use authorizations for Regeneron and Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 antibody therapies to restrict their use, as the medications are unlikely to operate against the Omicron form. continue reading
* Brazil’s Health Ministry stated Monday that the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has caused 83,340 new cases and 259 deaths in the last 24 hours.
* Chile, which already has one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the world, has decided to purchase 2 million doses of the vaccine from Moderna, interim Chilean health secretary Maria Teresa Valenzuela announced. continue reading
* A New York judge invalidated the state’s mask mandate one week before it was set to expire, declaring that the governor exceeded her authority by imposing a law that required legislative approval. continue reading
* The World Health Organization’s director-general warned that it was risky to believe the Omicron variant would signal the end of COVID-19’s acute phase, urging nations to remain vigilant in their efforts to contain the pandemic. continue reading
* Germany has increased its current pandemic preparedness measures after the government-appointed expert’s panel warned that the Omicron type might bring Europe’s largest economy’s key infrastructure to a halt. continue reading
* South Korea’s daily coronavirus case count has surpassed 8,000 for the first time, as the Omicron type spreads swiftly despite the recent expansion of tight social-distancing measures designed to reduce infection. continue reading
* Japan is expected to more than double the number of regions subject to increased coronavirus controls on Tuesday, as it seeks to adapt its response to the infectious Omicron variety that has fueled a record number of cases. continue reading
* Australian authorities said that approximately two dozen cases of COVID-19 had been identified among the crew of an Australian warship scheduled to visit coronavirus-free Tonga on Wednesday to deliver humanitarian relief. continue reading
AFRICAN AND MIDDLE EAST AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST
* Israel’s health minister stated that he does not believe the country will issue a fourth COVID-19 vaccination shot to the majority of people following the government’s decision to make it available to those over the age of 60 and other high-risk categories.
DEVELOPMENTS IN MEDICINE
* Omicron can survive longer on plastic surfaces and human skin than previous coronavirus strains, Japanese researchers discovered in laboratory studies. continue reading
* A third booster dosage of a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Johnson & Johnson significantly raises antibody levels in individuals who previously had two doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac injection, according to a study. continue reading
* Australia’s core inflation accelerated to its quickest annual rate since 2014 in the December quarter, owing to broad-based price pressures driven by fuel and housing costs, a development that may fuel market speculation about an early rate hike. continue reading
* In 2021, South Korea’s economy developed at its highest rate in 11 years, aided by an increase in exports and construction activity, which offset decreases in capital investment and a delayed recovery in the coronavirus-affected service sectors. continue reading
* An indicator of Australian business confidence has swung into negative territory after a surge in coronavirus infections dampened consumer purchasing and wreaked havoc on staffing, albeit overall sales have remained resilient. continue reading.