• In Japan, where 70 percent of eligible residents have been fully vaccinated, daily coronavirus infections have fallen from a mid-August peak of over 20,000 to 310. Although health experts are not sure what caused the significant decrease in cases, they agree that high vaccination levels and masking are helping to halt the spread of virus. Source

• The US purchases 50 million doses of the pediatric formulation of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, which will deliver them by April 2022. Source

• The New England Journal of Medicine publishes an interim analysis of results from the 593-person, phase III COMET-ICE trial of a single 500 mg infusion of sotrovimab in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients at risk for disease progression. Overall, 3 patients (1 percent) who received sotrovimab within five days of symptom onset progressed to hospitalization for, or death from COVID-19, versus compared with 21 patients (7 percent) of placebo recipients, an 85 percent reduction in these outcomes. No safety signals were identified during the trial. Source

• In Ukraine, where COVID-19 cases are soaring, A local coronavirus vaccination campaign in Morshyn used billboards, information tents, handouts and videos to increase vaccine uptake; in two months, 72 percent of residents were vaccinated, versus a national rate of 16 percent – Europe’s lowest. Source

Lancet publishes results from Brazil’s ongoing, 9,803-person TOGETHER randomised, double-blind platform trial. COVID-19 patients at risk for progression to severe disease were assigned to fluvoxamine (100 mg twice daily for 10 days) or placebo (or the trial’s seven other treatment groups, which are not reported in this publication) within a week of symptom onset. Overall, fluvoxamine reduced the risk of hospitalization by five percent; it occurred among 11 percent (79 of 741) of fluvoxamine recipients versus 16 percent (119 of 756) of the placebo group. There were 17 deaths in the fluvoxamine group and 25 deaths in the placebo group. No difference in treatment-related adverse events between groups was reported. The authors suggest that “Given fluvoxamine’s safety, tolerability, ease of use, low cost, and widespread availability, these findings might influence national and international guidelines on the clinical management of COVID-19.” Source

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