A World Health Organization (WHO) expert has revealed on Wednesday that the first use of COVID-19 vaccine cannot be expected until early 2021. This information is coming against the backdrop of reported good progress by researchers in developing vaccines against COVID-19, with a handful in late-stage trials.
The head of WHO’s emergencies programme, Mike Ryan said the UN health agency is working to ensure fair vaccine distribution, but in the meantime, it is key to suppress the virus’ spread. This is as daily new cases around the globe are at near-record levels.
Ryan said, ‘’We’re making good progress, noting that several vaccines were now in phase 3 trials and none had failed, so far, in terms of safety or ability to generate an immune response. Realistically it is going to be the first part of next year before we start seeing people getting vaccinated.”
He said that WHO has been working to expand access to potential vaccines and to help scale up production capacity.
Going further, Ryan said, ‘’And we need to be fair about this, because this is a global good. Vaccines for this pandemic are not for the wealthy, they are not for the poor, they are for everybody.”
Pfizer and German biotech BioNTech have both revealed that the United States Government is expected to pay $1.95 billion to buy 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the 2 drug firms if it turns out safe and effective.
The WHO chief also cautioned schools to be careful about re-opening until community transmission of COVID-19 is under control.
Ryan said, “We have to do everything possible to bring our children back to school, and the most effective thing we can do is to stop the disease in our community. Because if you control the disease in the community, you can open the schools.”
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Nairametrics had reported that a vaccine trial for the COVID-19 disease by a joint team of University of Oxford researchers and pharmaceutical firm, AstraZeneca Plc showed strong immune response in early testings with humans.
Also, the Modena vaccine candidate in its trial produced a robust immune response in all the 45 patients in its first phase of the human trial.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 26th of September 2020, 136 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 58,198 confirmed cases.
On the 26th of September 2020, 136 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 7,968 samples across the country.
To date, 58,198 cases have been confirmed, 49,722 cases have been discharged and 1,106 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 502,545 tests have been carried out as of September 26th, 2020 compared to 494,577 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 26th September 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 58,198
- Total Number Discharged – 49,722
- Total Deaths – 1,106
- Total Tests Carried out – 502,545
According to the NCDC, the 136 new cases were reported from 16 states- Lagos (41), Ogun (27), Rivers (19), Abia (10), Oyo (6), Plateau (6), Bauchi (5), Ondo (5), Ekiti (4), Kaduna (4), Edo (3), Ebonyi (2), Bayelsa (1), Delta (1), Osun (1), Yobe (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 19,215, followed by Abuja (5,644), Plateau (3,379), Oyo (3,254), Edo (2,623), Kaduna (2,393), Rivers (2,324), Delta (1,802), Ogun (1,823), Kano (1,737), Ondo (1,625), Enugu (1,289), Ebonyi (1,040), Kwara (1,028), Abia (891), Gombe (864). Katsina (848), Osun (827), Borno (741), and Bauchi (697).
Imo State has recorded 566 cases, Benue (481), Nasarawa (449), Bayelsa (398), Jigawa (325), Ekiti (321), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (259), Adamawa (237), Anambra (234), Sokoto (162), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Zamfara (78), Yobe (76), 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.
Lagos launches N5 billion support fund for 2,000 low-cost private schools
The Governor said the facility will benefit low-cost schools with amounts ranging from N500,000 to N5 million.
Lagos State government has launched a N5billion support fund to help reduce the impact of Coronavirus pandemic on low-cost private schools in the state.
This was disclosed by the Governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu via his Twitter handle on Friday.
According to him, the educational sector is one of those severely impacted by the pandemic, with schools and vocational learning-centres shut since March.
He said, “With access to funding for privately owned schools and vocational training centres in the state, we are confident that this programme, under the partnership between First Bank Nigeria and Lagos State Education Trust Fund (LSETF) will help accelerate a sustainable return to learning and skills acquisition.”
Today, I launched a N5bn support fund to help reduce the impact of #COVID19 on low-cost private schools in Lagos. The educational sector is one of those severely impacted by the pandemic, with schools and vocational learning-centres shut since March. #EducationMeetsFunding pic.twitter.com/PrKjLhxBXq
— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) September 25, 2020
He explained that the facility will benefit 2,000 low-cost schools with amounts ranging from N500,000 to N5 million.
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“As a responsible Government, we are obligated to provide interventions that would enable learners in schools study in line with the new normal,” the Governor Sanwo-Olu added.
The Chief Executive Officer, First Bank Nigeria, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, said “With this partnership, we are sure that registered educational institutions in Lagos State will have access to funds at subsidised interest rates to meet their needs as they reopen at this auspicious time.”
WHO endorses emergency use of China’s COVID-19 vaccine
China says WHO has approved the emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed the plans by China to start administering experimental coronavirus vaccines to people while clinical trials are still underway.
This disclosure was made by a Chinese Health Commission official, Zheng Zhongwei, during a news conference on Friday, September 25, 2020.
Zheng recalled that China launched its emergency programme in July, having communicated with the WHO in late June. Hundreds of thousands essential workers and other limited groups of people considered at high risk of infection have been given the vaccine, even though its efficacy and safety had not been fully established as Phase 3 clinical trials have not yet been completed.
Zheng at the news conference said, “At End-June, China’s State Council approved a plan of COVID-19 vaccine emergency use program. After the approval, on June 29, we made a communication with the relevant representatives of the WHO Office in China, and obtained support and understanding from WHO.’’
Nairametrics had reported that Chinese Pharmaceutical firms have been quite aggressive about the development of a Covid-19 vaccine with the likes of Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm publicly displaying their vaccine candidate for the first time at a trade fair in Beijing earlier this month.
It was pointed out that China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and the US-listed Sinovac Biotech SVA.O, are developing the three vaccines under the state’s emergency use program just as a fourth COVID-19 vaccine is being developed by CanSino Biologics 6185 HK, was approved for use by the Chinese military in June.
The WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, while describing it as a temporary solution, said earlier this month in Geneva that national regulatory authorities could approve use of medical products within their own jurisdictions in the current emergency situation.
He emphasized that the long-term solution in the successful development of a Covid-19 vaccine, lay in completion of Phase 3 trials, this is as China has not publicly released full details of its emergency use programme.
Zheng disclosed that China’s annual production capacity of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to reach 610 million doses by end-2020 and 1 billion doses by 2021. He said that the price of the vaccine will be affordable for the general public.