Boosters may prolong Covid WHO warns, France jabs kids as Omicron surges

“No country can boost its way out of the pandemic,” warns WHO chief   LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — The WHO warned Wednesday that rich countries cannot use boosters to escape the coronavirus and France became one of the first nations to vaccinate children over five, as nations scrambled to contain Omicron surges. China meanwhile cracked down on the latest outbreak of the virus, shutting down a whole city. And Britain, which reported a record […]

Third jab ‘significantly’ boosts Omicron antibodies: AstraZeneca

  LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said Thursday that a third, or “booster”, dose of its Covid-19 vaccine Vaxzevria “significantly” lifted antibody levels against the Omicron strain in a laboratory study. “Vaxzevria significantly boosted levels of antibodies against the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant (B.1.1.529) following a third dose booster,” the company said in a statement citing the study. “The third dose booster vaccination neutralised the Omicron variant to levels that were broadly […]

US health regulator authorizes Pfizer’s Covid pill as Omicron surges

by Issam AHMED Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON, D.C., United States (AFP) – The United States on Wednesday authorized Pfizer’s anti-Covid pill for high-risk people aged 12 and up, as a surge of cases driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant threatened holiday plans and Americans struggled to find tests. Paxlovid, which comprises two types of tablet, was granted an emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after a clinical trial showed it to reduce […]

WHO approves Novavax as 10th authorized Covid jab

  GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The World Health Organization on Tuesday approved a Covid vaccine made by US pharma giant Novavax for emergency use, after the European Union medicines regulator gave it the green light. The European Medicines Agency had assessed and approved Nuvaxovid on Monday. It is made from a more conventional technology than others already approved, which has led officials in Brussels to express hope that this will help persuade those hesitant about […]

Residents revolt against UK sewage dumping

by Martine PAUWELS Agence France-Presse BRIGHTON, United Kingdom (AFP) – Brighton, on England’s south coast, has been described as Britain’s hippest city, and is a haven for tourists, especially Londoners keen to escape the capital. But surfer Stu Davies says the waters off Brighton and along the Channel coast are less attractive, describing them as an “open sewer”. Human faeces, wipes and tampons are regularly discharged into seas and rivers, angering local residents who are […]

No mountain high enough: Study finds plastic in ‘clean’ air

PARIS, France (AFP) – From Mount Everest to the Mariana Trench, microplastics are everywhere – even high in the Earth’s troposphere where wind speeds allow them to travel vast distances, a study showed Tuesday. Microplastics are tiny fragments — measuring less than 5 millimetres — that come from packaging, clothing, vehicles and other sources and have been detected on land, in water and in the air. Scientists from the French national research institute CNRS sampled […]

Human cost of China’s green energy rush ahead of Winter Olympics

by Poornima WEERASEKARA Agence France-Presse BAODING, China (AFP) – Beaten, forced off their land, cheated out of money, and even falsely imprisoned — farmers in China say they are paying a heavy price as authorities rush to deliver on ambitious pledges to ramp up national green energy output. China has vowed the upcoming Winter Olympics 2022 will be the first Games to be run entirely on wind and solar energy, and have built scores of […]

EU set to back Novavax Covid vaccine

by Danny KEMP THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AFP) — The EU’s drug regulator will decide Monday whether to approve a Covid jab by Novavax, which uses a more conventional technology that the US biotech firm hopes will reduce vaccine hesitancy. Novavax’s jab, a protein-based vaccine of the kind used around the world to protect against many childhood illnesses, would be the fifth coronavirus shot authorized for the European Union. Approval would also be a boost for […]

Tunisia recyclers struggle to tackle mountains of waste

by Aymen Jamli and Amal Belalloufi Agence France-Presse MGHIRA, Tunisia (AFP) – “When I see plastic, I see money,” says Tarek Masmoudi, owner of one of the few recycling companies in Tunisia, where a waste crisis is threatening widespread social unrest. Recycling is almost non-existent in the North African country, which produces 2.6 million tonnes of waste each year. Some 85 percent of that ends up in landfills, while much of the rest winds up […]

End of an era nears for Berlin’s coal stoves

by Raphaelle LOGEROT Agence France-Presse BERLIN, Germany (AFP) – Alban Nikolai Herbst’s Berlin apartment is covered in dust, his precious record collection included, thanks to a coal-powered stove he still uses to heat his home like thousands across the city. Germany’s new government is set to extinguish the at-home heat source from a bygone era as part of its ambitious climate plans, as it looks to cut harmful emissions linked to climate change. But Herbst […]

Pfizer to test third vaccine shot for under-fives

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Pfizer announced Friday that it wants to test a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in the under-fives, as the low dosage such small children can handle may not offer the same protection that older children enjoy from just two shots. The company does not expect the change to affect its plans to file for emergency use authorization in the United States in the first half of next year. […]

Vast study confirms rare heart risk from Moderna jab

PARIS, France (AFP) — The Moderna Covid jab carries a slight risk of usually non-serious heart problems a study of the entire population of Denmark found Friday. Incidences of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart) after mRNA jabs from Pfizer and Moderna had been noted in vaccine safety reports and small-scale studies. These reports led France, Denmark and other countries to advise against the jab for […]