Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

India’s Bharat Biotech’s nasal COVID-19 vaccine gets mid/late-stage trial approval

Indian vaccine maker Bharat Biotech’s nasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate has received regulatory approval for mid-to late-stage trials, the government’s ministry of science and technology said in a statement on Friday.

San Francisco, New Orleans mandate vaccines for gyms and bars

The cities of San Francisco and New Orleans on Thursday ordered patrons to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations to enter restaurants, gyms, and other venues, joining New York in a severe step designed to contain the fast-spreading Delta variant. The move by the two liberal cities came on the same day that school board members in Houston voted to support a mandate by the district superintendent to require students to wear masks in classrooms and on school buses.

Pfizer, Moderna seen reaping billions from COVID-19 vaccine booster market

Drugmakers Pfizer Inc, BioNTech, and Moderna Inc are expected to reap billions of dollars from COVID-19 booster shots in a market that could rival the $6 billion in annual sales for flu vaccines for years to come, analysts and healthcare investors say. For several months, the companies have said they expect that fully inoculated people will need an extra dose of their vaccines to maintain protection over time and to fend off new coronavirus variants.

England’s COVID-19 prevalence plateaus at 1 in 75, estimate shows

The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England remained at around 1 in 75 people last week, Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday, unchanged from its previous estimate. The ONS said the percentage of people testing positive for the virus was “high” in England, based on samples of households, although it added that modeling suggested a declining trend may now be underway.

S.Korea signs new Pfizer vaccine deal; asks people to cut travel

South Korea on Friday signed a deal to buy 30 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 2022, and the government urged people to cut holiday travel amid a worsening fourth wave of infections and a slow inoculation campaign. Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum asked companies to be flexible about allowing people to work from home and urged those returning from holiday to get tested, especially before clocking in for work.

Russia reports record-high COVID-19 deaths

Russia reported a record high of 815 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours on Friday, but Moscow’s mayor said hospitalizations from the disease in the capital had halved over the past six weeks. Russia’s daily reported COVID-19 infections have gradually dipped from a peak in July that authorities blamed on the infectious Delta variant and a slow vaccination rate. They stood at 22,277 on Friday, including 2,529 in Moscow.

China reports smallest number of new local COVID cases since July

China on Friday reported declining numbers of new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases for the third consecutive day, a tentative sign that the latest month-long outbreak may be waning. The National Health Commission (NHC) reported 47 new locally transmitted confirmed cases on Thursday, the lowest since July 30.

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Here is what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: Sydney daily cases hit a record high

Israel expands COVID vaccine booster campaign to over 50s, health workers

Israel on Friday lowered to 50 from 60 the minimum age of eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and will also offer them to health workers, hoping to stem a surge in Delta variant infections. The director-general of Israel’s health ministry, Nachman Ash, accepted a recommendation late Thursday by an expert advisory panel to expand third shot eligibility of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

U.S. FDA authorizes COVID-19 vaccine boosters for the immunocompromised

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a third dose of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc for people with compromised immune systems. The amended emergency use authorization paves the way for people who have had an organ transplant, or those with a similar level of the weakened immune system, to get an extra dose.

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