Search / 27 results found

from
to
  • Updated

U.S. health advisers have endorsed an antiviral drug from Merck to treat COVID-19. It sets the stage for an expected authorization of the first pill that Americans could take at home for the coronavirus. A Food and Drug Administration panel voted that the drug’s benefits in curbing hospitalizations and deaths outweigh its risks. Those risks include potential birth defects if used during pregnancy. The FDA isn’t bound by the panel’s recommendation and is expected to make its own decision before the end of the year. Merck’s pill could provide a much-needed therapy as colder weather pushes case counts higher and U.S. officials brace for the arrival of the new omicron variant.

  • Updated

The world is confronting a new coronavirus variant, and officials have named it “omicron." A World Health Organization panel has classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern. Its discovery in southern Africa sent a chill through much of the world as nations raced to halt air travel, markets fell sharply and scientists held emergency meetings. The overall risks of omicron are not yet known. But the 27-nation European Union and some other countries quickly suspended air travel from southern Africa and stepped up other precautions.

  • Updated

U.S. health officials say Merck's experimental COVID-19 pill is effective but they raised questions about its safety during pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration posted its review Friday ahead of a public meeting next week where outside experts will debate the drug's benefits and risks. If FDA authorizes the drug it would be the first pill for U.S. patients infected with the virus. All FDA-authorized drugs currently used against coronavirus require an IV or injection. The FDA will ask its experts whether the drug's benefits outweigh its risks for various patient groups, including pregnant women.

  • Updated

South African scientists have identified a new version of the coronavirus this week that they say is behind a recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. It’s unclear from where the new variant actually arose, but it was first detected by scientists in South Africa and has also been seen in travelers to Hong Kong and Botswana. Health minister Joe Phaahla said the variant was linked to an “exponential rise” of cases in the last few days, although experts are still trying to determine if the new variant is actually responsible. The World Health Organization has convened a technical group of experts to decide whether the new variant warrants being designated a variant of interest or a variant of concern.

  • Updated

Pfizer and Moderna say U.S. regulators have opened up COVID-19 booster shots to all adults, letting them choose another dose of either vaccine. The move expands the government’s booster campaign to shore up protection and get ahead of rising coronavirus cases that may worsen with the holidays. There’s one more step: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must agree to expand Pfizer and Moderna boosters to even healthy young adults. Its scientific advisers are set to debate that on Friday. If the CDC agrees, tens of millions more Americans could have three doses of protection ahead of the new year.