Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Australia weighs further coronavirus curbs as outbreak grows

Australia's most populous states will impose harsher restrictions on movement if a COVID-19 outbreak is not quickly bought under control, state premiers said on Wednesday. Australia has been heralded as a global leader in containing COVID-19, but in the last week it has seen a surge in new cases.

WHO seeks to help poor Latam nations get 'subsidized' COVID-19 vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) is working to ensure vulnerable Latin American nations receive a "subsidised" vaccine at an "affordable" price once it is available, WHO's regional director for the Americas, Carissa Etienne, said on Tuesday. The Latin America region has become the latest pandemic epicentre, with coronavirus deaths in the region on Monday surpassing the North American death toll for the first time since the start of the outbreak.

FDA panel votes in favor of approving GSK's multiple myeloma drug

An independent panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday voted in favor of approving GlaxoSmithKline's experimental treatment for a common form of blood cancer, saying the benefits of the treatment outweigh the risks. Approval for belantamab mafodotin as a treatment for multiple myeloma is seen as important for GSK's growing oncology portfolio. The drug is a rival to Johnson & Johnson and Genmab's Darzalex treatment.

New Zealand must prepare for new coronavirus outbreaks, PM says

New Zealand must prepare for new coronavirus outbreaks as the pandemic spreads globally but will not drop its elimination strategy if community transmission was discovered, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday. Ardern said the epidemic was now "exploding" outside New Zealand and countries that had been models in the fight against COVID-19 had now experienced further community outbreaks.

India's Zydus begins human trials for potential COVID-19 vaccine

Indian pharmaceutical company Zydus said on Wednesday it has started human studies for its potential COVID-19 vaccine, as coronavirus infections continue to surge in the world's third worst-hit nation. ZyCoV-D, its plasmid DNA vaccine, was found to be safe, immunogenic and well-tolerated in the pre-clinical toxicity studies, Zydus said www.bseindia.com/xml-data/corpfiling/AttachLive/055682c2-b6b3-43b0-aff5-2ac50fe9b087.pdf.

Swiftly waning COVID-19 immunity poses vaccination challenge

Emerging evidence that the body's immune defence against COVID-19 may be short-lived makes it even harder for vaccine developers to come up with shots fully able to protect people in future waves of infection, scientists said on Tuesday. Preliminary studies in China, Germany, Britain and elsewhere have found that patients infected with the novel coronavirus make protective antibodies as part of their immune system's defences, but these appear to last only a few months.

More U.S. schools go online-only as coronavirus cases and deaths rise

With coronavirus infections and deaths rising in many parts of the country, U.S. educators from California to Wisconsin are opting for online learning rather than a return to classrooms when the school year begins in a few weeks. Schools from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Fort Bend County, Texas, joined California's two largest school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, in announcing plans to keep teachers and students from the close contact that classrooms demand.

U.S. base on Japan's Okinawa confirms 36 more coronavirus cases: Kyodo

Authorities have confirmed 36 more coronavirus infections at Camp Hansen on Japan's Okinawa, taking to 136 the tally at U.S. military bases on the island, Kyodo News said on Wednesday. The outbreak emerged at the weekend, provoking the anger of the prefecture's governor, who has called into question the U.S. military's virus prevention measures.

Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Alabama, Florida and North Carolina in the United States reported record daily increases in deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, while the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy would recover more slowly than expected. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

Moderna Phase 1 results show coronavirus vaccine safe, induces immune response

Moderna Inc's experimental vaccine for COVID-19 showed it was safe and provoked immune responses in all 45 healthy volunteers in an ongoing early-stage study, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday. Volunteers who got two doses of the vaccine had high levels of virus-killing antibodies that exceeded the average levels seen in people who had recovered from COVID-19, the team reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.



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