AstraZeneca Trial For Children Suspended
The University of Oxford has paused its small clinical trial of the AstraZeneca vaccine in children over concerns about blood clotting. Also, life expectancy has dropped in Europe.
Oxford Halts AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccinations In Kids' Trial
The University of Oxford has suspended AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccinations in a small clinical trial for children, while the U.K.’s medicines regulator examines reports of rare blood clotting in vaccinated adults. An Oxford spokesperson said "there are no safety concerns in the pediatric clinical trial," in a statement sent to Fox News. (Rivas, 4/6)
Official: EU Agency To Confirm AstraZeneca Blood Clot Link
A top official at the European Medicines Agency says there’s a causal link between AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and rare blood clots, but that it’s unclear what the connection is and that the benefits of taking the shot still outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19.Marco Cavaleri, head of health threats and vaccine strategy at the Amsterdam-based agency, told Rome’s Il Messaggero newspaper on Tuesday that the European Union’s medicines regulator is preparing to make a more definitive statement on the topic this week. (Winfield and Pylas, 4/6)
Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine Rolled Out in U.K. for First Time
The U.K. began rolling out the Moderna Inc. vaccine on Wednesday, bolstering Britain’s Covid-19 immunization program amid concerns over AstraZeneca Plc’s shot and a shortfall of doses this month. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Moderna shot would first be offered in west Wales. It is the third approved vaccine to be offered in Britain, alongside shots from AstraZeneca and partners Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, and its rollout is around two weeks earlier than expected. (Ashton, 4/7)
EU Life Expectancy Drops Across Bloc Amid Virus Pandemic
Life expectancy across much of the European Union has dropped last year, as the 27-nation bloc struggled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The EU statistical agency Eurostat said Wednesday that “following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, life expectancy at birth fell in the vast majority of the EU member states.” It said the biggest drop was in Spain, with a loss of 1.6 years compared with 2019. (4/7)
In other global developments —
Japan's Osaka Cancels Olympic Torch Run, Declares COVID-19 Medical Emergency
Japan’s western region of Osaka on Wednesday cancelled Olympic torch events scheduled across the prefecture, as record coronavirus infections prompted its government to declare a medical emergency. (Swift, 4/5)
A Controversial Court Case In Brazil Will Tackle Pharma 'Monopolies'
After years of anticipation, the Brazilian Supreme Court is holding a hearing this week on a case that has pitted the pharmaceutical industry against consumer advocates over patent rights and the extent to which many prescription drugs are affordable. At issue is the constitutionality of a provision in the country’s intellectual property law allowing lengthy extensions on patents. Currently, patents are protected for 20 years from the date that an application is filed, as well as another 10 years at the time a patent is granted. Moreover, the government can take 10 years or more to review patent applications. (Silverman, 4/6)