Health News Roundup: African monkeypox cases not concentrated among gay men, experts say; Cigna boosts forecast as lower costs drive profit beat and more

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Amgen bets on ChemoCentryx’s rare disease drug in $3.7 billion deal

Amgen Inc on Thursday agreed to buy ChemoCentryx Inc for $3.7 billion to gain access to a potential blockbuster treatment for inflammatory disorders and beat quarterly revenue estimates on demand for its bone disease drug. The deal, announced before markets opened, will also hand the company control of at least two experimental therapies for immune disorders, a field in the spotlight following AstraZeneca’s 2020 purchase of Alexion Pharmaceuticals for $39 billion.

Obesity drug supply delay not unusual says Novo Nordisk CEO

Novo Nordisk sought to soothe concerns about supplies of its new obesity drug Wegovy on Thursday, saying there was nothing unusual about a slight delay in its availability. Shares in the Danish diabetes and obesity drug maker fell by almost 10% on Wednesday, despite a significant upgrade to its financial outlook, with some analysts attributing the drop in part to lower-than-expected U.S. sales of Wegovy and a delay in when the drug is fully available later this year.

African monkeypox cases not concentrated among gay men, experts say

Monkeypox outbreaks in Africa are not concentrated among gay men, unlike in other parts of the world, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Africa CDC said on Thursday. Outbreaks of the viral disease have been reported from 78 countries, mostly in Europe, and 98% of cases outside the countries in Africa where it is endemic have been reported in men who have sex with men, the WHO says.

Cigna boosts forecast as lower costs drive profit beat

Cigna Corp on Thursday raised its annual earnings forecast after topping quarterly profit estimates as a slow recovery in non-urgent procedures lowers medical expenses, sending the insurer’s shares up about 5%. Cigna’s robust performance rounded off a strong quarter for health insurers that have seen their fortunes fluctuate through the pandemic, seesawing between higher COVID-related costs and lower expenses owed to deferred elective procedures.

U.S. regulators defend requiring more data on monkeypox drug

As U.S. monkeypox cases rise, U.S. health agencies in a medical journal article published on Wednesday defended their decision to require human trial data to show that SIGA Technologies’ experimental drug TPOXX is safe and effective to treat the virus. U.S. agencies have been under pressure to ease access to the drug, which is being distributed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under a special “compassionate use” access that requires doctors to request it from the agency or their health department and enroll each patient in a study.

U.S. declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency

The United States has declared monkeypox a public health emergency, the health secretary said on Thursday, a move expected to free up additional funding and tools to fight the disease. The U.S. tally topped 6,600 on Wednesday, almost all of the cases among men who have sex with men.

AstraZeneca says Lynparza gets EU nod to treat early-stage breast cancer

AstraZeneca said on Thursday its drug Lynparza, developed with U.S.-based Merck & Co, was approved by the European Union as an adjuvant treatment for patients with a form of a genetically mutated early-stage breast cancer.

Ukraine health crisis worsens as medics work amid shelling – WHO

Ukraine is facing a worsening health emergency as the conflict with Russia rages on, the World Health Organization said, with a combination of burnt-out staff, increased shelling and the approach of winter fuelling the agency’s concerns. There have been 434 attacks on healthcare facilities in the country, out of 615 such attacks reported this year worldwide, according to a WHO tracker.

Eli Lilly cuts annual profit view as lower insulin prices hit Q2 sales

Eli Lilly and Co on Thursday cut its full-year profit forecast for the second time as lower insulin prices and competition for the company’s cancer drug bruised its second-quarter earnings. U.S. drugmakers have been pulled up by lawmakers in recent months over rising costs of insulin. The U.S. House of Representatives in March passed a bill capping monthly out-of-pocket insulin costs for those with health insurance at $35.

South Africa reports first death causally linked to COVID vaccine

South Africa’s health regulator reported on Thursday a causal link between the death of an individual and Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine, the first time such a direct link has been made in the country. The person presented with rare neurological disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome soon after being given J&J’s Janssen vaccine, after which the person was put on a ventilator and later died, senior scientists told a news conference.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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