💊Africa CDC gets a director general; Leukaemia patients get an HIV cure; Monogamous species get divorces
#281 | WHO chief scientist wants vaccines for animal flus; No end to UK’s healthcare blues; An updated LAPaL for your use
Hello and welcome back to your favourite weekday newsletter. Monday has become Tuesday, the 20th has become the 21st, but the US FDA’s love affair with Indian pharma remains unaltered as Biocon recalls 3,665 bottles of its anti-fungal medication – a process it initiated late last month – as it failed the FDA’s degradation/failed impurities protocol.
Elsewhere, the FDA is handing out thumbs ups to pharma companies; phase 3 studies went well for Apellis Pharma’s Syfovre injectable – which is now the only approved treatment for geographic atrophy, an irreversible condition which causes loss of vision. This is somewhat of a historic moment for retinal ophthalmology, and the injectable might be available for use across the US as early as March.
More green lights from the US FDA as it lands a slap to mosquitoes and hands a priority review classification for Valneva’s VLA1553, a single-dose chikungunya vaccine.
But coming back to India, the authors of the ‘The Truth Pill: The Myth of Drug Regulation in India’ lament the horrors of drug regulation in the country, emphasise the need for a central drug authority, and speak about the government’s problematic relationship with traditional systems of medicine.
In the UK, nurses, ambulance workers and now junior doctors are all dissatisfied with pay, workload and work conditions in UK health facilities; tens of thousands of junior doctors have voted in favour of a strike next month.
The WHO claims that antimicrobial resistance is a global health threat, but if there are no antibiotics in the first place, you don’t have to worry about bacteria becoming resistant to them. We guess then North America and Europe are lucky to be struggling with a pandemic-induced amoxicillin shortage. Still, respondents of a US survey are livid about outsourcing antibiotic production operations to cheaper countries for so long.
We hate to repeat ourselves two days in a row, but in the US, anti-vaxxers gonna anti-vax. A couple of Republican lawmakers want you to go to jail and/or pay a fine if you commit the crime of saving lives with an mRNA vaccine. 🙄
On the other end of the vaccine opinion spectrum, Brazilian lawmakers want to send you to prison for not taking your shots or for spreading misinformation.
Miracles continue to happen, like when a bone marrow transplant to combat leukaemia made a German man’s immune system HIV-resistant, the third person to benefit in this way from stem cell treatment. Unfortunately for those who have just HIV, they’ll have to stick to good old drug treatments only.
And finally, the Africa CDC is transitioning from being a specialised technical institute to a public health agency. This means that the head of the CDC is no longer just a director but a director general. And now the agency has appointed its very first director general – Dr Jean Kaseya, a Congolese doctor with two decades of public health experience. Meanwhile, Azali Assoumani, the President of the Union of Comoros is taking over as the new Chairperson of the African Union for 2023.