Health news roundup: US FDA approves Pfizer drug to treat eczema; US reports case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild bird and more

Here is a summary of health news briefs.

Peak of Omicron? Experts are hesitant to call time on the variant wave in Europe

A rise in coronavirus cases caused by the Omicron variant may have peaked in parts of Europe, but doctors say the impact will continue to be felt across the region, with hospitals still at risk of dealing with an admissions rush. Health experts and politicians warn against complacency, saying it’s not yet clear whether their data reflects the full impact of the Christmas and New Year holidays, when families came together for long indoor periods and the risk of intergenerational spread of the virus may be greater.

US FDA approves Pfizer drug to treat eczema

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Pfizer Inc’s drug Cibinqo to treat eczema, a skin condition, the company announced Friday.

EMA lists rare spinal conditions as side effect of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

A European medicines regulator safety group on Friday recommended adding a rare spinal inflammation called transverse myelitis as a side effect of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) safety committee also recommended that a similar warning be included for Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine in October, and reiterated the decision on Friday.

UK study finds more Omicron hospitalizations in younger children, but mild cases

Young children and babies are proportionally more likely to be hospitalized with Omicron compared to older children than with previous variants, but cases are still mild, UK researchers said, adding that the overall picture was reassuring. Omicron spread rapidly in Britain and fueled a spike in cases at record levels, although the variant was less severe than previous ones, and high vaccination levels in adults also helped limit the rise hospitalizations. Children are less vulnerable than older adults to COVID-19.

FDA approves expanded use of AbbVie’s arthritis drug to treat eczema

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved expanded use of AbbVie Inc’s arthritis drug to treat eczema, a skin condition, the company announced Friday. Rinvoq’s approval for the treatment of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis, or eczema, was for patients 12 years of age and older who are unresponsive to prior treatment or when the use of other treatments is not recommended .

As Omicron Fuels Rise, US Students Stage Walkouts to Protest In-Person Classes

Hundreds of students in Boston and Chicago walked out of class on Friday to pressure officials to switch to remote learning, as a rise in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Omicron variant disrupts schools across the United States. About 600 students from 11 Boston schools participated, according to the school district. Many students returned to class later, while others returned home after taking part in peaceful protests.

Mexico approves emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 pills

Mexican health regulator COFEPRIS said on Friday it had approved U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19 for emergency use in adults at mild to moderate risk of complications. Paxlovid, which combines nirmatrelvir and ritonavir in one tablet, will require a prescription, it said in a statement.

US reports case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild bird

The United States Department of Agriculture on Friday confirmed the first case of a highly pathogenic strain of avian flu in a wild bird since 2016, in South Carolina. The strain, Eurasian avian influenza H5, was found in a wild American duck in Colleton County, South Carolina, the agency said in a statement. He advised poultry producers to review safety measures to ensure the health of their birds.

US households can order 4 free COVID-19 tests starting Jan. 19 – White House

U.S. households can order four free at-home COVID-19 tests from the COVIDTests.gov website starting Jan. 19 with expected shipping seven to 12 days after ordering, the White House announced Friday. The free test bundle aims to alleviate a shortage of COVID-19 tests across the country amid increased demand during the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Burned by COVID supply shortages, hospitals invest in manufacturing masks in the United States

Two days before Christmas, a cargo ship left Mumbai with a mask-making machine bound for Illinois-based OSF HealthCare, which will use the equipment to make its own N95 masks. This is not the hospital group’s first foray into the manufacturing sector. After COVID-19 closed borders in early 2020, shipments from Asia were snuffed out, OSF and some other hospital groups began investing in U.S. production of key supplies, including masks, gowns and essential pharmaceuticals.

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

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