Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Some Russian drugmakers focus on export-oriented Sputnik Light shot

Some Russian drugmakers say they will only manufacture the single-dose Sputnik Light COVID-19 vaccine for the time being because it is easier to make than Sputnik V, which combines two separately-produced shots. This highlights the complexity of producing the second shot of Russia's Sputnik V vaccination, which is made up of two different products which requires different manufacturing facilities and twice as many people to make.

U.S. approval of Biogen Alzheimer's drug sends shares soaring, hailed as 'big day" for patients

U.S. regulators on Monday approved Biogen Inc's aducanumab as the first treatment to attack a likely cause of Alzheimer's disease despite controversy over whether the clinical evidence proves the drug works, sending its shares soaring. Biogen said it has priced the drug, to be sold as Aduhelm, at $56,000 per year. After jumping more than 50%, Biogen shares closed up 38.3% at $395.85 - their highest closing level in over six years. U.S. traded shares of Japanese partner Eisai Co rose 56% to $116.03.

J&J vaccine drive stalls out in U.S after safety pause

Safety concerns about Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine along with the overall flagging demand for vaccinations have slowed its U.S. rollout to a crawl, leaving close to half of the 21 million doses produced for the United States sitting unused.

J&J's vaccine was supposed to be an important tool for reaching rural areas and vaccine-hesitant Americans because it requires only one shot and has less stringent storage requirements than the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc.

Aspirin does not improve survival in COVID-19 patients - UK study

Aspirin does not improve the chances of survival in severely ill COVID-19 patients, early results from one of Britain's biggest trials studying the commonly used painkiller and blood thinner showed on Tuesday. The scientists behind the trial, which is looking into a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, evaluated aspirin's effects on nearly 15,000 hospitalised patients infected with the novel coronavirus.

Indian experts urge faster inoculations ahead of free COVID-19 shots

Indian officials and health experts welcomed a federal government plan to give free COVID-19 shots to all adults as a step in the right direction on Tuesday, but cautioned that vaccinations must be accelerated to prevent new surges in infections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday the federal government would take over the inoculation programme from Indian states and offer free doses to everyone over the age of 18.

EU regulator does not expect approval for CureVac vaccine before August - source

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) does not expect to make a decision on the approval of German biotech group CureVac's COVID-19 vaccine before August, an official at Germany's health ministry familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The source said German health minister Jens Spahn had provided the update on the EMA's view on the timing of the review on Monday in a call with his regional state counterparts.

Top Japanese virologist warns of risks of Tokyo Games during pandemic-paper

A top Japanese virologist and government adviser has said there was a risk of spreading COVID-19 infections during the Tokyo Olympics, the Times of London reported on Tuesday, the latest high-profile warning about the global sporting showpiece.

Tohoku University professor Hitoshi Oshitani was an architect of Japan's "Three Cs" approach to the pandemic, which advises avoiding closed spaces, crowds and close contact situations.

Inovio expands partnership with Advaccine for COVID-19 vaccine study

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc on Tuesday expanded its partnership with Advaccine Biopharmaceuticals to conduct a late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, expected to start in the summer. Inovio and Advaccine had entered into an agreement in January, under which Advaccine gained the exclusive right to develop and market the DNA vaccine, INO-4800, within Greater China.

U.S. report concluded COVID-19 may have leaked from Wuhan lab - WSJ

A report on the origins of COVID-19 by a U.S. government national laboratory concluded that the hypothesis of a virus leak from a Chinese lab in Wuhan is plausible and deserves further investigation, the Wall Street Journal said on Monday, citing people familiar with the classified document. The study was prepared in May 2020 by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and was referred to by the State Department when it conducted an inquiry into the pandemic's origins during the final months of the Trump administration, the WSJ report said.

Women falling behind in India's COVID-19 vaccination drive

Many more men in India have received COVID-19 vaccines than women, government data showed on Tuesday, highlighting gender disparity in the country's immunisation drive that has also disadvantaged the rural population. India has partly or fully vaccinated about 101 million men, nearly 17% more than women. Men account for 54% of the total number of people inoculated, according to the data.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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