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Coronavirus

4 major EU countries strike deal with UK drugmaker for vaccine supply for COVID-19

The Dutch government disclosed that the UK drugmaker have struck a deal with Germany, France, Italy and Netherlands to provide doses of a possible vaccine. 

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4 major EU countries strike deal with UK drugmaker for vaccine supply for COVID-19
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As the world searches for the cure to the dreaded coronavirus pandemic, pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca Plc has reached an agreement with 4 European Union countries to distribute coronavirus vaccine.

The Dutch government disclosed on Saturday that the UK drugmaker has struck a deal with Germany, France, Italy and Netherlands to provide 300 million to 400 million doses of a possible vaccine in stages starting from the end of 2020.

According to the Dutch Health Minister, Hugo de Jonge, ‘’This is an important step that we’re taking. A vaccine is crucial in combating the virus. The four countries have reported more than 665,000 confirmed cases of the disease.’’

The deal marks the first concrete result for the four-nation alliance created earlier this month to help ensure Europe secures adequate supplies of any COVID-19 vaccine. The group is working differently from the European Commission, the 27-nation EU’s executive arm, which is also seeking to strike vaccine accords with drugmakers that have sufficient production capacity in the bloc.

READ MORE: EU member-states open borders to EU citizens and foreign nationals

AstraZeneca had previously reached similar agreements with Britain, the Serum Institute of India, the United States, the coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

The drugmaker wants to increase the manufacturing capacity of the vaccine the company is developing with Oxford University and is open to collaborating with other businesses. Total manufacturing capacity currently stands at 2 billion doses. The company will make the vaccine available at cost, with governments agreeing to help cover development and manufacturing.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said, “The cost is not that high on a per unit basis, but if we have to supply 6 to 7 billion doses, there is no way for a company like ours on our own could cover the costs.’’

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Soriot said that the pharmaceutical firm is producing the vaccine as it goes through the testing process, so it can begin distribution immediately it proves effective. The company hopes to have 100 million doses available for the U.S. by the end of the year, 30 million for the U.K. and close to 100 million for the rest of Europe. This is as Europe wants to avoid falling behind US and China in getting supplies of any immunization shot.

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READ MORE: NNPC inks $1.16 million deal to deliver power project

Testing of the COVID-19 vaccine began in the UK in April with over 1,000 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 55. Another round with 10,000 volunteers started in May.

Other companies including US biotech company, Moderna and French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, are pursuing the creation of a coronavirus vaccine which is the only possible way to return safety to normal life in the post-COVID-19 world.

 

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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    Business News

    COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

    On the 22nd of April 2021, 100 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria.

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    The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 164,588 confirmed cases.

    On the 22nd of April 2021, 100 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria.

    To date, 164,588 cases have been confirmed, 154,578 cases have been discharged and 2,061 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

    A total of 1.84 million tests have been carried out as of 22nd April 20th, 2021 compared to 1.81 million tests a day earlier.

    COVID-19 Case Updates- 22nd April 2021,

    • Total Number of Cases – 164,588
    • Total Number Discharged – 154,578
    • Total Deaths – 2,061
    • Total Tests Carried out – 1,838,174

    According to the NCDC, the 65 new cases are reported from 9 states- Taraba (64), Lagos (21), Abuja (4), Rivers (3), Akwa Ibom (2), Kaduna (2), Oyo (2), Bauchi (1), and Nasarawa (1).

    Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 58,209, followed by Abuja (19,754), Plateau (9,049), Kaduna (9,036), Rivers (7,070), Oyo (6,842), Edo (4,898), Ogun (4,647), Kano (3,942), Ondo (3,226), Kwara (3,120), Delta (2,617), Osun (2,572), Nasarawa (2,380), Enugu (2,281), Katsina (2,097), Gombe (2,034), Ebonyi (2,020), Anambra (1,909), Akwa Ibom (1,843), and Abia (1,683).

    Imo State has recorded 1,655 cases, Bauchi (1,540), Borno (1,337), Benue (1,188), Adamawa (1,063), Niger (930), Taraba (910), Bayelsa (885), Ekiti (869), Sokoto (775), Jigawa (527), Kebbi (450), Cross River (394), Yobe (365), Zamfara (240), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

    READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

    Lock Down and Curfew

    In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

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    The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

    On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

    On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

    Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.

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    Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.

    On 26th January 2021, the Federal Government announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month following the rising cases of the coronavirus disease in the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.

    On 28th February 2021, the federal government confirmed that the first tranche of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Nigeria on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021.

    On Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, the National Primary health Care Development Agency announced the arrival of the expected COVX Astrazeneca/Oxford covid-19 vaccines.

    On Saturday, 6th March 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice, Yemi Osinbajo received vaccination against the covid-19 as the State House in Abuja.

    READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

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    Coronavirus

    FG explains how the Covid-19 vaccines work and their composition

    The NPHCDA Director said that Covid-19 vaccine candidates are of various categories based on their mechanism of action.

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    The Federal Government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has explained the composition of the Covid-19 vaccines and how they work.

    This is as some of them have been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) and some countries, while others are still at different phases of clinical trials for possible approval.

    According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this insight was given by the Executive Director/Chief Executive of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, who said there were several COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

    READ: African Union signs deal for 400 million Johnson and Johnson single shot vaccine

    He said that Covid-19 vaccine candidates are of various categories based on their mechanism of action such as the inactivated or weakened virus vaccines.

    He explained that the idea behind the formulation of an inactivated or weakened virus vaccine is to elicit an immune response without causing the disease itself. Shuaib also said there were protein-based vaccines, which used harmless fragments of proteins or protein shells that mimic the Covid-19 virus to safely generate an immune response.

    He added that the viral vector vaccines used a virus that had been genetically engineered to produce coronavirus proteins to safely generate an immune response and not give rise to the disease.

    Going further, Shuaib pointed out that the Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) and Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) vaccines employed a cutting-edge approach that used genetically engineered RNA or DNA to generate a protein that safely prompted an immune response.

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    READ: China publicly presents its COVID-19 vaccines, 2 doses to cost below $146

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    What you should know

    • It can be recalled that on March 2, 2021, Nigeria received the first set of about 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute in India and shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO.
    • A few days ago, the Executive Director of NPHCDA disclosed that a total of 8,491 Nigerians have reacted adversely to the AstraZeneca inoculation since the exercise began on March 15.
    • He said that Nigeria recorded 52 cases of moderate to severe incidents of Adverse Effects Following Immunisation (AEFI), presented as fever, vomiting, diarrhoea headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions.
    • About 1.09 million Nigerians have so far been administered the first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

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