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Health News Roundup: Hungary reports H5N1 bird flu at turkey farm; India’s Kerala state

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

U.S. abortion fight in 2023 to focus on state laws, medication

Six months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, the state of abortion rights around the country remains unsettled, thanks to a patchwork of lawsuits in state courts and emergency court orders. Experts predict that the uncertainty will continue in the coming year, as cases wend their way through courts, and state legislatures consider new restrictions, potentially drawing new battle lines in the fight over abortion rights.

One in four Ukrainians at risk of mental disorder due to conflict – WHO

A World Health Organization official said on Tuesday that 10 million people, or about a quarter of Ukraine’s population, may suffer from a mental health disorder in relation to the conflict there. “WHO estimates that up to 10 million people are at risk of some form of a mental disorder, varying from anxiety and stress to more severe conditions,” Jarno Habicht, WHO’s representative in Ukraine told a Geneva press briefing via video link.

Chinese pharma firm’s COVID medicine awaits approval for entering market – local govt

Anhui Biochem Pharmaceutical’s self-developed COVID-19 treatment medicine has passed the clinical trial stages and professional reviews, and is waiting for regulatory approval to enter the market, said a statement released by China’s eastern Hefei government in Anhui province on Tuesday. The drug is targeted at adult patients with mild to moderate COVID symptoms, the Hefei government said.

Kroger limits purchase of children’s pain relievers, flu medicines

Kroger Co said on Tuesday it had put in place limits on purchases of children’s pain relievers and cold medicine products, as retailers in the United States grapple with supply constraints amid surging demand. The U.S. grocer has asked customers to limit their purchase to two pediatric pain medications and four cold and flu items, a company spokesperson said.

Hungary reports H5N1 bird flu at turkey farm

Hungary has reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus at a turkey farm, the National Food Chain Safety Office (Nebih) said on Tuesday. Authorities said that they have begun the slaughter of more than 25,000 turkeys on the farm where the virus was detected. The outbreak was reported in the county of Hajdu-Bihar.

How many people might die, and why, under relaxed China COVID curbs

China’s abrupt end to its zero-COVID policy has raised concerns of widespread infections among a vulnerable, undervaccinated population with little natural immunity that would overload the health system and result in up to 2 million deaths, or more, various research groups are reporting. New analyses by various modelling groups predict the reopening could result in as many as 2.1 million deaths.

China races to bolster health system as COVID surge sparks global concern

Cities across China scrambled to install hospital beds and build fever screening clinics on Tuesday as authorities reported five more deaths and international concern grew about Beijing’s surprise decision to let the virus run free. China this month began dismantling its stringent “zero-COVID” regime of lockdowns and testing after protests against curbs that had kept the virus at bay for three years but at a big cost to society and the world’s second-largest economy.

Drug price group slashes suggested price of Pfizer COVID treatment by 80%

An influential drug pricing research group has cut its suggested price range for Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid by more than 80%, partly to reflect the decreased disease burden as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus tends to cause less severe illness. The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) said on Tuesday that its new suggested U.S. price based on the benefits and value to patients was in the range of $563 to $906 per treatment course. That compares with its previous assessment of $3,600 to $5,800 per course.

India’s Kerala state culls hundreds of birds after avian flu outbreak

Hundreds of birds were culled in India’s southern state of Kerala where a district has seen a surge in the number of bird flu or avian influenza cases, local health officials told Reuters partner ANI. After an outbreak last week in broiler chickens in two villages in Kottayam district, authorities have culled hundreds of ducks and other domestic birds, district veterinary doctors said.

Gambia lawmakers say Maiden to blame for child kidney injury deaths

A parliamentary committee in Gambia said on Tuesday that India-based drug maker Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd was responsible for the deaths of at least 70 children from acute kidney injury and called on the government to pursue legal action. Maiden’s managing director, Naresh Kumar Goyal, did not immediately respond to calls and messages from Reuters on Tuesday.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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