By Haruna Gimba
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the XBB.1.5 Omicron sub-variant of COVID-19 may be spurring more cases.
Based on its genetic characteristics and early growth rate estimates, XBB.1.5 may contribute to increases in number of cases.
An international meeting this week will discuss setting up a global system of wastewater monitoring for COVID-19, including at airports, after several countries said they would start tests on flights coming from China.
Countries including the United States and Australia have moved to set up wastewater testing on flights and in airports amid a surge of cases in China.
The European Union also recommends a similar measure and has drawn up guidelines for member states.
The WHO said it is working with China to manage the risks of COVID-19 surging again as people travel for Lunar New Year celebrations but the country’s response continues to be challenged by a lack of data.
COVID-19 is spreading unchecked in China after the country lifted its zero-COVID policy in December, but the WHO said it still does not have enough information from China to make a full assessment of the dangers of the surge.
The UN health agency said that two cough syrups made by India’s Marion Biotech should not be used for children, after the products were linked to 19 deaths in Uzbekistan.
Analysis by Uzbekistan’s health ministry showed the syrups, Ambronol and DOK-1 Max, contained a toxic substance, ethylene glycol.
The syrups were administered in doses higher than the standard for children, either by their parents, who mistook it for an anti-cold remedy, or on the advice of pharmacists, according to the analysis.
The U.S. government will announce a list of 10 prescription drugs for which it plans to negotiate the prices for Medicare recipients on September 1, and the prices a year later, a top Biden administration official said on Wednesday.
President Joe Biden in August signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which among its provisions for the first time allows the federal Medicare health plan for people age 65 and older and the disabled to negotiate prices on some of the most expensive drugs.