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The new test specifically targets the XBB.1.5 Omicron variant and will help researchers closely track the virus’s lineage and provide insights into the epidemiology and impact it has on public health.

The updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer Inc./BioNTech SE and Moderna helped prevent symptomatic infections against the new XBB-related subvariants, offering new evidence of how the vaccines perform against these fast-spreading strains, U.S. officials said today.

The subvariant is estimated to have accounted for 49.1% of COVID cases in the country in the week ended Jan. 21, compared with 37.2% estimated last week.

As our nation attempts to pick itself up and walk away from the COVID battlefield, we can see the toll it has suffered. COVID spurred a pervasive physical and mental health crisis in the United States, but it has also precipitated a financial and operational crisis among our most important healthcare institutions.

A safety monitoring system flagged that U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and German partner BioNTech’s updated COVID-19 shot could be linked to a type of brain stroke in older adults, according to preliminary data analyzed by U.S. health authorities.

Increased prevalence of XBB.1.5 cases has eclipsed the previously dominant Omicron subvariant BQ.1.1 and BQ.1, which were offshoots of BA.5.

The extension allows millions of Americans to continue receiving free tests, vaccines, and treatments.

The company said today it would take legal action against some pharmaceutical companies after noticing that some manufacturers were supplying COVID-19 drugs to some provinces and cities saying the medicines were authorized by Merck.

China gave a presentation on its COVID-19 situation in an online meeting with the World Health Organization and its member states, China’s national health commission and diplomats said on Thursday, as it seeks to fend off criticism about its recent reporting on the outbreak.

The White House said it would use existing funding to pay for the tests since it has been unsuccessful so far in getting Congress to pass a bill to put more money towards the U.S. COVID-19 response.