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Business News

Bill Gates Foundation, Mastercard, others fund research on hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine for COVID-19 cure

One of the latest investments in the search for a vaccine for COVID-19 is $20 million from partners in the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator.

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Bill Gates Foundation, Mastercard, others fund research on hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine for COVID-19 cure

Investors are beginning to infuse more capital into the health sector to find a vaccine for COVID-19. One of the latest investments is $20 million from partners in the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator.

The grant was given to three institutions – the University of Washington, University of Oxford, and La Jolla Institute for Immunology. This is to accelerate the development of therapies for COVID-19 and increase access to it as vaccine for the virus.

This is the first grant to be issued by the accelerator. A statement seen by Nairametrics quoted the Chief Executive Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mark Suzman to have said:

These grants to leading institutions in their fields will advance our understanding of how existing drugs and antibodies can contribute to addressing the pandemic we’re facing around the world.”

In the meantime, there are currently no broad-spectrum antivirals or immunotherapies available to prevent or treat COVID-19. It is, therefore, expected that the new investments will accelerate efforts towards developing one.

“These initial investments through the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will bring rigour to the study of these potential solutions. The way forward will be informed by sound science and shared data,” Suzman said.

[READ MORE: Second edition of Jack Ma’s Africa Netpreneur Prize opens for applications)

Money not enough to fund solutions: Partners in the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator are Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard. The accelerator had also received $25 million from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and £40 million from the U.K. Government to strengthen its financial capabilities to fund the development of a viable solution.

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The fund under the accelerator will allow distribution of grants that will enable studies to be conducted on repurposed drugs, as well as investigate biological compounds for activity against COVID-19. But Nairametrics learnt that the group is still in need of more funding in order “to move promising therapies through development and scale-up.” 

Promising COVID-19 solution on table: Presently, the focus is on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. The released fund will be used to conduct trials and investigate the effectiveness of the drugs which have been used to treat malaria and a variety of rheumatological conditions for more than 50 years.

Both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have known antiviral properties. So, the trial will probe whether during pre- and post-exposure to COVID-19, these drugs can serve as preventive therapy. There have been constant discussions about these drugs in Nigeria and globally since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, but no assurance has been given.

Aside from discovering how effective these drugs will be, the trials are expected to give answers about where and within which populations to use them amidst the pandemic. This is vital due to some users who react to hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. This is the reason why the drugs were dropped in Nigeria years ago.

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The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator Lead at Wellcome, Nick Cammack, said:

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“Investment in research is the world’s only exit strategy from COVID-19. Drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics are vital to saving lives, to ending this pandemic, and to preventing it from happening again.

“Now is the time to evaluate whether existing drugs will prove to be safe and effective. We urge others to join us in this collective global effort. Investing now, at scale, in the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator is vital if we are to change the course of this pandemic.”

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[READ ALSO: Facebook launches new messaging app called ‘Tuned’, just for couples)

Also commenting on the grant is vice chairman of Mastercard, Mike Froman, who stated:

“Today’s grants are an important next step in the Therapeutic Accelerator’s commitment to identifying and scaling treatments to combat COVID-19.

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“In order to provide therapeutic solutions to this global pandemic, particularly for those most vulnerable, we need to speed up the research and development process through a collaborative funding effort by the private sector, philanthropic organizations, and governments. We welcome the participation of additional organizations that can contribute the resources needed to help bring an end to this crisis.” 

Over 42,000 people compromised of East Asians, Britons, and other Europeans will be randomly selected as participants in the trials. Results from the trials will only be available in late 2020.

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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Companies

Peter Obaseki resigns as Director from the Board of FCMB Plc

Mr Peter Obaseki has resigned as a Director on the Board of FCMB Group Plc.

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First City Monument Bank Ltd issues N20 billion commercial paper

The Board of FCMB Group Plc has announced the resignation of Mr Peter Obaseki as an Independent Non-Executive Director of the company.

The notification is part of the decisions reached at the company’s Board meeting held today, 26th of February, 2021.

According to the disclosure signed by the company’s secretary, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Adedibu, the resignation of Mr Obaseki from the Board of the company will become effective from 1st of March, 2021.

In lieu of this, the Board wished the outgoing Director well in his future endeavours and accepted his resignation in good faith. Other decisions reached at the Board of Directors’ meeting include;

  • The Board considered and approved the appointment of an Independent Non-Executive Director, subject to CBN approval.
  • It also considered and approved the Group’s audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 as well as payment of Dividend, subject to the approval of the CBN.

What you should know about Obaseki:

  • Mr. Peter Obaseki has over 27 years working experience across financial consulting and banking. Prior to joining FCMB Plc in 1997, Mr Obaseki gained valuable experience in firms like KPMG, Ani, Ogunde & Co and some banks.
  • He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and was appointed an executive director of FCMB in September 2008.
  • Apart from being an Independent Non-Executive Director, Mr. Peter Obaseki also doubled as the Chief Operating Officer of FCMB.

FCMB closed trading with a share price of N3.03 as at the 26th of February 2021.

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Corporate Press Releases

AXA Mansard emerges Best Health Insurance Product Winner 2021

The winning product was the AXA Platinum Plus Cover which has been specially designed to provide a world-class health cover for the insurer’s customers.

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Health Management Organization, AXA Mansard Health Limited, recently announced that it has emerged as the winner of the best health insurance product of the year in the Insurance Product & Process section of the just concluded 11th Annual Global Banking and Finance Awards 2021.

The winning product was the AXA Platinum Plus Cover which has been specially designed to provide a world-class health cover for the insurer’s customers. With access to roam over 1,700 hospitals locally, care in India, UAE and South African hospitals and limited in-patient cover in the UK, France, and Germany for up to $1000 in healthcare benefits.

The product provides enrolees with benefits such as twenty-four-hour dedicated Telemedicine service, home vaccination service, free home delivery of special medications, partnership with healthy eating restaurants, and smarter budget-friendly discounts on healthy meals.

Speaking on the award, Chief Executive Officer, AXA Mansard Health Limited, Tope Adeniyi, said “We thank our highly esteemed customers for this prestigious award, as they are the reason, we passionately drive to improve our product offerings and execute innovative initiatives. This award is recognition of our unflinching commitment to our customers and an affirmation of our current position as the leading health insurance company in the country.”

AXA Mansard Health has a twenty-four-hour call centre, a team of highly trained and dedicated professionals, service portals at all AXA Mansard Welcome Centres nationwide and has deployed state-of-the-art technology to attain operational excellence while contributing to prompt service delivery and overcoming of challenges being encountered in the Nigerian health insurance industry.

Whilst thanking the organizers, Adeniyi noted that “the company is counting on the continued support of our stakeholders to continuously provide superior customer experience and to develop more innovative and value-adding products. We will continue to innovate, create new products, improve our product offering and refine our service delivery to ensure we continuously meet the changing needs of our customers”.

AXA Mansard Health Limited is the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) arm of the AXA Mansard group of companies. The HMO is geared to promote her members’ wellbeing.

The HMO serves all clients across the country virtually and has established functional offices in Lagos (the head office), Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Enugu, with ongoing plans to open offices in other locations.

Global Banking & Finance Review is a leading Online and Print Magazine, which has evolved from the growing need to have a more balanced view, for informative and independent news within the financial community.

Since its inception in 2011, The Awards reflect the innovation, achievement, strategy, progressive and inspirational changes taking place within the Global Financial community. According to the magazine’s publishers the awards were created to recognize companies prominent in their areas of expertise and excellent in financial service delivery.

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