Covid-19 wrap | US experts vote to approve vaccine, Singapore gets green light for saliva testing

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  • US experts voted on Thursday to recommend granting emergency approval for Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Singapore has approved Advanced MedTech Holdings' Covid-19 kit for use in testing saliva from deep within the throat.
  • The head of the EU drug regulator said the agency's work on assessing Covid-19 vaccines had not been affected by a cyber attack.


US experts vote to approve Pfizer vaccine

US experts voted on Thursday to recommend granting emergency approval for Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine, paving the way for America to become the next country to move ahead with mass immunisation.

It comes as the worst-hit country in the world logged nearly 6 000 virus deaths in 48 hours and its overall toll was approaching 300 000.

With northern hemisphere countries hit by a pandemic winter surge, Britain this week became the first Western country to roll out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Canada, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have also approved it.

AFP

Singapore approves Covid-19 test using saliva from inside throat

Singapore has approved Advanced MedTech Holdings' Covid-19 kit for use in testing saliva from deep within the throat, the company said, as the country looks to ramp up testing to help re-open its borders and resume more economic activity.

The test is the first of its type to receive approval from Singapore's Health Sciences Authority, Advanced MedTech, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore state investor Temasek , said in a statement on Thursday.

Patients will need to draw out saliva from deep within their throat and spit into a specimen bottle for the test, Advanced MedTech said.

"No patient wants to have a swab poked up their nose or the back of their throat. Having a fast, painless, and accurate Covid-19 test kit...is a game changer for Singapore as we reopen our borders," said Abel Ang, group chief executive of Advanced MedTech.

Reuters

EU drug regulator says cyber attack has not affected work on Covid-19 vaccines

The head of the European Union drug regulator said on Thursday the agency's work on assessing Covid-19 vaccines had not been affected by a cyber attack over the past two weeks.

"We have been subject to a cyber attack over the last couple of weeks," Emer Cooke told EU lawmakers in a hearing. The agency revealed the cyber attack on Wednesday but did not clarify when it took place.

"I can assure you that this will not affect the timeline for delivery of vaccines and that we are fully functional," she told lawmakers. The agency has said it will decide on a possible conditional approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine by 29 December.

Reuters

Japan PM says coronavirus situation tense but won't suspend travel scheme

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Friday that the novel coronavirus is spreading in Japan and the situation is tense, but that he was not thinking at this point of suspending the government travel subsidy programme.

He added that if the economy worsened, it would be impossible to protect peoples' jobs and that a government expert panel was of the view that there is little link between the travel subsidy programme and coronavirus infections.

Suga was speaking on a town-hall style online streaming programme.

Reuters

 

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