The Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO), Soumya Swaminathan, has revealed that widespread vaccination for the coronavirus disease is expected to start by the middle of 2021.
The WHO chief expressed cautious optimism over the state of the research and development process in an interview.
In her statement she said, “We have now over 20 candidates in clinical studies. So we are hopeful that a couple of them will work. It would be very unlucky if all of them fail.”
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“So if we are very practical, then we are looking at the middle of 2021 when we will have a vaccine that can be widely deployed. Of course it’s impossible to predict,” she added.
Swaminath pointed out that the global race to develop a vaccine had been the fastest timeline ever seen, while noting that there were only 3 months between the time the virus’ genetic sequence was published in January and the time the first trial began.
There have been several global efforts at the development of potential vaccines for the coronavirus pandemic. The WHO had disclosed that about 150 vaccines for COVID-19 were under development globally.
The novel coronavirus, which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, has since spread to almost every corner of the world, with more than 14 million people infected and over 600,000 casualties. The US currently leads the world in confirmed cases, with Brazil taking up the second position.
The pandemic’s epicenter has shifted from China to Europe and right now to the Americas, especially with the resurgence of the spread of the virus. This has led to renewed lockdowns and tough restrictions on public life and travel.
Some places where the virus was brought under control are seeing an uptick in cases thereby increasing fears of a second wave of infections and a new round of restrictions.
ECOWAS COVID-19: Nigeria drops to 7th position in recovery rate
According to data from ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control, Nigeria has dropped to 7th position in recovery rate.
The ECOWAS COVID-19 daily update report, as of November 22nd, 2020, shows that Nigeria is ranked 7th on recovery rate (93.5%), 10th on death rate (CFR – case fatality ratio) at 1.76%, and 9th on active cases (4.7%) amongst the 15 member countries of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States).
This data can be seen on the Twitter handle of the ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control.
— ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (@Ecowas_cdc) November 23, 2020
A week ago, as of 15th November 2020, Nigeria occupied the 6th position in recovery rate (93.7%), 9th position in CFR (1.79%) and 11th position in active cases (4.5%).
According to the report, there are 209,614 confirmed cases, 2,842 deaths, 189,917 recoveries, and 8,849 active cases in ECOWAS countries. This data represents in Africa, 9.8% of the confirmed cases, 5.7% deaths, 10.9% recovery rate and 3.3% active cases.
As regards the death rate (CFR), Liberia tops the list with 5.29%, followed by Niger 5.12% and Mali 3.41% while Guinea is the least with 0.58%.
On recovery rate, Cote D”Ivoire tops the list with 98.3%, followed by Senegal 97.5% and Ghana 97.1%, with the least coming from Mali with 71.1%.
Mali has more active COVID 19 cases with 25.5%, followed by Sierra Leone 20.9% and Togo 20.9% and with Senegal contributing the least with 0.4%.
What you should know
- As at November 22 2020, worldwide, there are 58,649,324 confirmed cases, 1,388,068 deaths and CFR of 2.3%
- In Africa, there are 2,057,029 confirmed cases, 49,412 deaths and CFR of 2.4%
- In West Africa, there are 201,614 confirmed cases, 2,842 deaths and CFR of 1.41%, with a recovery rate of 94.2%.
COVID-19: AstraZeneca vaccine could be 90% effective against the virus
AstraZeneca has said that its vaccine being developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford could be 90% effective.
British pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, announced that the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with Oxford University is 90% effective and also prevented 70% of trialists from falling ill.
AstraZeneca joins other major pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and Moderna in the race to develop a vaccine for the pandemic.
What they are saying
Oxford University said it could be 70.4% effective and tests on two dose regimes show that it could be is 90%.
The company expects to have up to 200 million doses by the end of the year and produce up to 700 million doses by the first quarter of 2021.
The new vaccine also answers issues of vaccine storage and distribution, as it can be kept at basic refrigerator temperature for transport, making it much easier to transport, compared to Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported earlier this month that Pfizer Inc disclosed that its experimental vaccine, which is jointly developed with BioNTech was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19, based on initial data from a large study, in the ongoing phase 3 trials.
Last week, Pharmaceutical company, Moderna Inc, stated its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective in treating coronavirus, after preliminary analysis of a large late-stage clinical trial.
COVID-19: G-20 to extend debt relief to developing nations
The G-20 has endorsed a plan which will enable the freezing of debt obligations to developing nations.
The G-20, in a bid to combat the economic fallouts of the pandemic, has endorsed a plan which will enable the freezing of debt obligations to developing nations till mid-2021.
This was reported by Reuters after the group met over the weekend to discuss vaccine relief and other pressing issues. They also agreed on a common approach to dealing with debt relief.
The G-20 leaders announced in a communique urging private creditors to extend debt relief to nations that are eligible for the initiative.
What they are saying
The Head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, urged that the world still runs the risk of falling into another crisis and called for closer cooperation through faster integration of the G-20 Framework. She added that the G-20’s efforts in combating the pandemic have helped soften the economic fallout caused by covid-19.
“The world is not out of the woods yet in terms of this crisis. Cooperation is going to be even more important going forward,” she said.
“We must also help those countries not covered by the Framework to address debt vulnerabilities, so that their economies can become more resilient,” she added.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported that the G-20 met earlier this weekend and agreed to announce a pledge to pay for vaccine distribution to developing nations that can’t afford it. The leaders also discussed a debt extension programme to developing nations during the weekend’s G-20 summit.
In April 2020, Ministers of Finance from African countries requested debt relief from bilateral, multilateral, and commercial partners to cushion the negative impact of the coronavirus.
Last Month, Nairametrics reported that the total external debt of the least developed countries under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) has increased by 9.55% to $744 billion in 2019. This was disclosed in the World Bank’s International Debt Statistics 2021.
The global Debt Service Suspension Initiative by rich nations made it eligible for 73 countries to have their debt frozen. However, only 46 countries took part in the initiative, freezing up to 5.7 billion in 2020 debt service payments.