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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 19th of April 2021, 70 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria.
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 164,303 confirmed cases.
On the 19th of April 2021, 70 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria.
To date, 164,303 cases have been confirmed, 154,384 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 April 17th, 2021 compared to 1.81 million tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 19th April 2021,
- Total Number of Cases – 164,303
- Total Number Discharged – 154,384
- Total Deaths – 2,061
- Total Tests Carried out – 1,838,174
According to the NCDC, the 70 new cases were reported from 5 states- Lagos (27), Kaduna (16), Ondo (16), Yobe (6), and Bauchi (5).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 58,119, followed by Abuja (19,756), Plateau (9,035), Kaduna (9,014), Rivers (7,060), Oyo (6,839), Edo (4,897), Ogun (4,639), 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.
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.
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.
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.
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