Here is a summary of health news briefs.
Elevance raises its annual profit forecast after a quarterly pace
Health insurer Elevance Health Inc raised its full-year profit forecast on Wednesday after beating quarterly profit estimates due to lower-than-expected medical costs and strong performance from its Medicaid business. Last week, arch-rival UnitedHealth Group Inc raised its full-year profit forecast for the third straight quarter and said the direct impact of COVID-19 is expected to ease next year.
J&J eyes job cuts despite impact of inflation
Johnson & Johnson posted better-than-expected third-quarter results on Tuesday on strong demand for its cancer drug Darzalex, but said it could still cut some jobs as it faces inflationary pressure and challenges created by the dollar strength. J&J chief financial officer Joseph Wolk says the US healthcare conglomerate plans to “size itself right”, especially as it transitions from a three-segment business to a two-segment business thanks to the spin-off. of its consumer unit.
Abbott raises 2022 earnings forecast for second time
Abbott Laboratories raised its full-year profit forecast for the second time on Wednesday, citing strong demand for medical devices and COVID-19 diagnostic tests. Shares of the company rose nearly 2% in premarket trading.
Coronavirus pandemic prompts Biden to focus on biological threats
US President Joe Biden set in motion a plan on Tuesday to counter biological threats and prepare for the next pandemic after the COVID-19 coronavirus killed more than one million people in the United States. Biden signed three biodefense security documents aimed at establishing a strategy and implementation plan to prepare for the next time a virus spreads widely in the United States.
German Merck under official investigation in France over thyroid drug
German drugmaker Merck KGaA said on Wednesday it had been formally investigated by a French court for possibly publishing misleading information about its thyroid drug Levothyrox. The ruling by a judge in the French city of Marseille did not in any way concern the new formula of the Levothyrox product, but the way the company provided information when switching from the old to the new formula, Merck said in a statement.
Moderna says Omicron booster response stays high for 3 months
Moderna Inc said Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine booster targeting Omicron’s BA.1 subvariant generated a strong immune response against that variant, with antibody levels remaining high for at least three months. Omicron custom shots from Pfizer Inc and Moderna are already licensed by regulators in several countries. The United States has given the green light to booster vaccines targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron currently in circulation.
US sends experimental antibody and antiviral drug to Uganda for Ebola outbreak
The United States last week sent MBP134, an experimental Ebola antibody from Gilead Sciences and Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc, to Uganda to help protect healthcare workers responding to an outbreak that has infected 60 people and killed others. killed 44, US government sources told Reuters. There is currently no proven vaccine or treatment for Sudanese species of Ebola, one of four Ebola viruses known to cause hemorrhagic fever in humans. The outbreak confirmed by the Ugandan Ministry of Health on September 20 is the largest of the Sudanese species since 2000.
Indonesia says 99 children have died from acute kidney injury this year
Nearly 100 Indonesian children have died this year from acute kidney injury, a health ministry official told reporters on Wednesday. Health ministry spokesman Mohammad Syahril said authorities had identified 206 cases through October 18, with 99 deaths recorded.
Addiction drug shows promise for lifting long COVID brain fog and fatigue
Lauren Nichols, a 34-year-old logistics expert for the US Department of Transportation in Boston, has suffered from impaired thinking and concentration, fatigue, seizures, headaches and pain since her COVID-19 infection in the spring of 2020. Last June, her doctor suggested low doses of naltrexone, a generic drug typically used to treat alcohol and opioid addiction. After more than two years of living in “a thick, hazy cloud,” she said, “I can actually think clearly.” Researchers looking for long COVID cures are eager to find out if the drug can provide similar benefits to millions of people suffering from pain, fatigue and brain fog months after coronavirus infection. The drug has been used with some success to treat a similar complex post-infectious syndrome marked by cognitive deficits and overwhelming fatigue called myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Building on its use in ME/CFS and a handful of long-COVID pilot studies, there are now at least four clinical trials planned to test naltrexone in hundreds of patients with long-COVID, according to a Reuters review of Clinicaltrials.gov and interviews with 12 ME/CFS and long COVID researchers. It is also on the short list of treatments to be tested under the US National Institutes of Health’s billion-dollar RECOVER initiative, which aims to uncover underlying causes and find treatments for along COVID, trial advisers told Reuters.
Shanghai Island to host 3,250-bed COVID quarantine facility
Shanghai plans to build a 3,250-bed COVID-19 quarantine facility on a small island near its city center as China sticks to its strict zero COVID controls, rather than easing restrictions like the have done many other countries. The city awarded a 1.38 billion yuan ($191 million) contract to build the center on Fuxing Island, located on the Huangpu River, to state-owned builder China Communications Construction Corp, according to a government document.
(With agency contributions.)