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Coronavirus

COVID-19: Russia produces first batch of its newly approved vaccine

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AstraZeneca suspends COVID-19 vaccine final stage trial over safety concerns, COVID-19: J&J starts vaccine trials on humans after success on monkeys

Russia announced on Saturday, August 15, 2020, that it has produced the first batch of its newly approved vaccine, Sputnik V, hours after the health ministry reported the start of its production.

The disclosure was made in a statement by the Russian Health Ministry and quoted by Russian news agencies.

This is coming some days after the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, announced the registration of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine in what could be described as a step ahead of other vaccine developments.

The announcement is seen as a propaganda coup for the Russian government against the west amid a global race to develop vaccines against the coronavirus disease.

The announcement of the vaccine registration by Putin was met with caution from scientists and the World Health Organization (WHO), who said that it still needed a rigorous safety review. Some of the scientists fear that with this fast regulatory approval, Russia may be putting national prestige ahead of safety.

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Putin had said the vaccine was safe and that one of his own daughters had been inoculated, although the final stage testing involving over 2,000 people just started this week. Such trials are considered very important before a vaccine can secure regulatory approval.

Russia has said the vaccine which is the first for the coronavirus disease to go into production, will be rolled out by the end of August.

The Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed the vaccine in collaboration with the Russian Defence Ministry, said that Russia would be producing about 5 million doses a month by December or January.

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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Coronavirus

FG says international passengers must be tested by private labs 7 days after returning

The directive is aimed at early detection of the virus and reducing the risk of its further transmission.

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FG says international passengers must be tested by private labs 7 days after returning

The Federal Government has announced that all returning international passengers must be tested by a certified private laboratory after 7 days, on returning to the country.

This disclosure was made by the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, during the briefing of the task force on Thursday, September 17, 2020.

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He said that it was to enable early detection of the coronavirus disease and reduce the risk of its further transmission.

Dr. Aliyu stated, “To enable early detection and reduce the risk of further transmission based on data and our current laboratory capacity, all incoming travelers must be tested by a certified private laboratory after 7 days of returning to the country.

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And there are only three criteria for these private laboratories to get on to the portal. Firstly, they have to be licensed through the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria. Secondly, they must have undergone a process of validation and optimization by NCDC, and then thirdly, they must be accredited by the state government because their results will feed into the state numbers.’

READ: NNPC to support alternative energy initiative by deploying CNG plants across the country

He said that the Federal Government had already reached out to states, urging them to work with the private laboratories within their areas and come up with the list of accredited laboratories that were able to meet those requirements.

Although Dr. Sani Aliyu revealed that at the moment, they only had portals for Lagos and Abuja, he said there were arrangements with the laboratories serving these areas to be responsible for collecting samples for passengers outside Lagos and Abuja.

READ: Taxify launches operation in Ibadan and Owerri

He also noted that they were working very hard to open up more private laboratories across the rest of the country. He said that the government believed that as more laboratories get registered and came on to the portal, it would be easier to continue to push down the cost of PCR test.

READ: FG to save N1 trillion annually from petrol subsidy removal

 

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 17th of September 2020, 131 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

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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 56,735 confirmed cases.

On the 17th of September 2020, 131 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,609 samples across the country.

To date, 56,735 cases have been confirmed, 48,092 cases have been discharged and 1,093 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 482,321  tests have been carried out as of September 17th, 2020 compared to 479,712 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 17th September 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 56,735
  • Total Number Discharged – 48,092
  • Total Deaths – 1,093
  • Total Tests Carried out – 482,321

According to the NCDC, the 131 new cases were reported from 18 states- Lagos (45), Kaduna (17), Plateau (17), FCT (16), Delta (6), Niger (6), Kwara (5), Oyo (3), Akwa Ibom (2), Cross River (2), Ekiti (2), Enugu (2), Osun (2), Sokoto (2), Bauchi (1), Ebonyi (1), Katsina (1), Rivers (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 18,768, followed by Abuja (5,504), Oyo (3,226), Plateau (3,175), Edo (2,610), Kaduna (2,322), Rivers (2,209), Delta (1,799), Ogun (1,755), Kano (1,733), Ondo (1,590), Enugu (1,234), Ebonyi (1,035), Kwara (1,009), Katsina (845), Abia (835), Osun (807), Gombe (779), Borno (741), and Bauchi (682).

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Imo State has recorded 551 cases, Benue (467), Nasarawa (447), Bayelsa (393),  Jigawa (322), Ekiti (307), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (250), Anambra (232), Adamawa (230), Sokoto (161), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (85), Zamfara (78), Yobe (73), 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.

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.

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

 

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Coronavirus

Moderna to seek emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine

Moderna said the FDA will determine the health-risk of vaccine.

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Moderna COVID-19 vaccine passes safety test on animals

Moderna Inc has concluded plans to seek for emergency authorization for the use of its Covid-19 vaccine on high-risk groups if it proves to be at least 70% effective.

This disclosure was made by the Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, Stephane Bancel, during a telephone interview with Reuters.

Bancel said, “If the interim readout is deemed by the independent safety committee as positive with 70 or 80 or 90% efficacy, we will indeed consider approval. At such a level of efficacy, if we get there, we can protect a lot of lives in the people at the highest risk, and so, we will consider filing for an EUA for a very limited population.”

He disclosed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will determine whether the benefit of the vaccine to a small group of high-risk individuals is greater than the risk of not having a full readout of safety data from all 30,000 study participants.

Bancel noted that the 2 groups of high-risk individuals who might be covered in such Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) would be the healthcare workers and the elderly.

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According to him, the company wants to gather more data on the safety of the vaccine in the study population over a period of several months before seeking full FDA’s approval.

Moderna’s vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, which is at the conclusion stage with its move to enrol 30,000 volunteers in a final stage trial of a novel coronavirus vaccine may be able to announce its success early if it is able to show that people who got doses of the vaccine fared much better in its trial than people who didn’t.

Vaccines must show they are at least 50% more effective than a placebo to be considered for approval. Government officials said that in order to show its effectiveness, at least 150 people with Covid-19 infections must be recorded as trial participants with at least twice as many occurring among the placebo group.

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