• WHO warned that death rates among COVID-19 patients in Africa are significantly higher among people with diabetes after assessing data from 13 countries. Over 10 percent of COVID-19 patients with diabetes died, versus an overall death rate of 2.5 percent. The prevalence of diabetes – mostly Type 2 – is increasing in Africa, where up to 70 percent of people are undiagnosed. “Fighting the diabetes epidemic in Africa is in many ways as critical as the battle against the current pandemic…Africa is projected in the coming years to experience the highest increase in diabetes globally,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WGO regional director for Africa, “We must act now to prevent new cases, vaccinate people who have this condition and, equally importantly, identify and support the millions of Africans unaware they are suffering from this silent killer.” Source

• The New York Times reports that Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, is prepared to take legal action against Moderna in an ongoing patent dispute if government lawyers deem it necessary. Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, was developed during four years of collaboration with research scientists at the N.I.H.’s Vaccine Research Center – but the company has excluded three N.I.H. researchers from being named on a key patent application. Source

• The EMA issues advice on the use of molnupiravir for the treatment of COVID-19. Although it is not currently authorized in the EU, it can be used to treat adults with COVID-19 who do not require supplemental oxygen and who are at increased risk of developing severe COVID-19. The advice is intended to support national authorities who may decide on possible early use of the medicine prior to its marketing authorization, such as in emergency use settings. Source

• The South China Morning Post reports that COVID-19 has created over eight million tons of mismanaged plastic waste, mostly from hospitals; nearly 26,000 tons of it has entered the oceans, worsening an existing global problem. Source

• A pre-print publication describes a mutation conferring resistance to remdesivir, which was discovered in samples of the virus from an immune-compromised COVID-19 patient. She was given the drug for a persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection, which was cured by monoclonal antibody therapy. The researchers underscored the potential benefit of combination treatment for immunocompromised COVID-19 patients – and the importance of monitoring them for the emergence of resistance to remdesivir. Source

• The US FDA announced that Ellume recalled 2.2 million of the 3.5 million at-home rapid COVID-19 tests it had shipped to the US, due to because of a higher-than-acceptable rate of false positive SARS-CoV-2 test results; the Agency identified it as a Class I recall, the most serious type – warning that use of these tests may cause serious adverse health consequences or death. Source

• In China, which has not authorized coronavirus vaccines from Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech, an experimental mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine from China’s Walvax Biotechnology and Suzhou Abogen Biosciences, which is currently in phase III trials, will be tested as a booster in fully immunized adults. Source

Lancet publishes interim data from a 24,419-person, phase III trial of BBV152, an inactivated virus-based coronavirus vaccine. Notably, 30 percent of trial participants had evidence of a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. During follow-up, which started 14 days after the second vaccine, there were 130 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 among study participants; 24 (0·3 percent) cases occurred among vaccine recipients, versus 106 (1·2 percent ) among placebo recipients, reaching an estimated efficacy of 77·8 percent, although efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 was lower among people ages 60 and above (66·2 percent) There were 16 cases of severe COVID-19, one of which occurred in the vaccine group,, resulting in vaccine efficacy of 93·4 percent against this outcome. Monthly nasopharyngeal swabs revealed efficacy against asymptomatic COVID-19 infections of 63·6 percent. Source

Endpoints reports that Moderna has said it attempted to name three NIH scientists who co-developed its mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine on a patent application – although it submitted the application without including their names, saying that the vaccine’s mRNA sequence was “selected exclusively by Moderna scientists using Moderna’s technology” and without input of three NIH scientists. Source

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