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Coronavirus

New coronavirus mutation ten times more infectious has been discovered

The strain is found to be 10 times easier to infect other individuals and easier to spread.

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Covid-19: UK Govt warns of new strain that spreads faster and may have already left the UK, New coronavirus mutation ten times more infectious has been discovered

As the world battles to contain the deadly novel coronavirus disease and develop a vaccine for it, Malaysia has detected a new strain of the virus that has been found to be 10 times more infectious.

The mutation, which is known as D614G, was found in at least 3 of the 45 cases in a cluster that started from a restaurant owner from India who breached his 14-day home quarantine. He has since been fined and sentenced to 5 months in prison.

READ: Banking related phishing up 9% in 2019, e-stores down 10%

The strain was also found in another cluster involving people returning from the Philippines.

While making the disclosure, Malaysia’s Director-General of the Health Ministry, Noor Abdullah, said the community had to be more careful after the D614G mutation of the novel coronavirus was detected.

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He said that the strain could mean that existing studies on the vaccine may be incomplete or ineffective against the mutation. He stated that it is found to be 10 times easier to infect other individuals and easier to spread.

Although the World Health Organization (WHO) has assured that there is no evidence to suggest that the strain leads to more severe disease, the mutation has become the predominant variant in Europe and the United States. A press report disclosed that the mutation is unlikely to have any major impact on the efficacy of vaccines that are currently being developed.

READ MORE: WHO admits huge funding gap in pandemic fight, reveals amount needed for vaccine

The mutation was detected by the Malaysian Institute of Medical Research from the result of isolation and culture tests on 3 cases from the country’s Sivaganga cluster and one case from the Ulu Tiram cluster.

Noor Hisham wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday, saying:

People need to be wary and take greater precautions because this strain has now been found in Malaysia. The people’s cooperation is very needed so that we can together break the chain of infection from any mutation.”

While Malaysia has managed to contain the resurgence of the virus, the number of new cases in the country has been picking up.

This new coronavirus disease discovery by scientists may constitute a setback for the numerous vaccine candidates against the virus. It is likely going to cause current vaccine research to be incomplete or ineffective towards this mutation

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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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Coronavirus

COVID-19: Moderna set to launch a new vaccine for virus strain found in South Africa

Moderna said it is accelerating work on a covid booster shot to guard against the recently discovered variant in South Africa.

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Moderna COVID-19 vaccine passes safety test on animals

American biotechnology firm, Moderna Inc. on Monday announced that it is launching a trial of a new Covid-19 vaccine as it warned that its current shot was less effective in tackling the strain that emerged in South Africa.

Moderna said it is accelerating work on a covid booster shot to guard against the recently discovered variant in South Africa.

According to the company, Laboratory tests show Moderna’s Covid-19 jab still works against the variant named 501Y.V2, which emerged in South Africa, and B.1.1.7, which was first discovered in the UK.

It however warned that the neutralising antibody response to 501Y.V2 was sixfold lower compared to the original variant, raising concerns that immunity to it may wane significantly, particularly in older people.

“Out of an abundance of caution and leveraging the flexibility of our mRNA platform, we are advancing an emerging variant booster candidate against the variant first identified in the Republic of South Africa into the clinic to determine if it will be more effective to boost titers against this and potentially future variants,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said.

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What you should know

  • On Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House health advisor said that new data had shown that the Covid-19 vaccines currently on the market may not be as effective against new and more contagious strains of the coronavirus.
  • Also, a team of researchers working with South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases stated that the 501Y.V2 shows substantial or complete escape from neutralising antibodies in COVID-19 convalescent plasma.
  • According to reports by South African researchers, the 501Y.V2 variant is 50% more infectious than previous ones. It has already spread to at least 20 countries since being reported by the World Health Organisation in late December.
  • Meanwhile, the total confirmed cases of the virus is currently at 99.85 million with over 2 million deaths worldwide.

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: 70% of doctors in Nigeria are infected – NARD

NARD has claimed that the majority of its members are infected with Covid-19.

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COVID-19: Nigeria, 6 other African countries to start antibodies tests next week

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has claimed that majority of its members are infected with Covid-19.

This is according to Dr Adejo Arome, NARD’s First Vice President while speaking during an interview with Channels Television on Sunday.

Arome said that almost 70% of its members in “clinical practice” are infected with Covid-19. He also lamented that “almost all the doctors in the UCH Pediatrics Department, Lafia in Nasarawa State, had been infected with COVID-19.”

Dr Arome noted that he had been personally exposed to COVID-19 but could not be tested due to lack of access to a testing facility.

READ: Covid-19: Second wave more catastrophic, we lost 20 doctors in one week – NMA

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He also complained that some hospitals do not only lack hand gloves, they give one face mask to each of their doctors to use for two days.

The association noted that lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for its members and non-disclosure of true symptoms of sickness by people seeking treatment is contributing to this infection rate.

NARD is, thus, appealing to the government to come up with policies that would make it unlawful for patients to hide their medical conditions.

READ: Over 700 NYSC Batch B members test positive for COVID-19 – PTF

What they are saying

Arome, speaking on Channels TV, illustrated the challenges facing doctors in this pandemic era. He said:

“I must tell you that the morale among we doctors is very low at this point in time. It is so disheartening that the number of health workers being infected with Covid-19 is increasing daily – and it seems nothing is being done to reduce this number.

I heard that almost all the doctors in certain health facilities, including the UCH are infected. It is like that every day and I believe that every doctor in clinical practice should have been exposed to Covid-19.

Apart from PPE, people are not being truthful. They go to one hospital the doctor there tells them this is what I’m suspecting and when they are told what is wrong, they run away praying and thinking that they will get a different diagnosis elsewhere.

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READ: Nigeria records 1,964 new cases of Covid-19, highest daily surge

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“I think it is high time the Federal Government stepped up and brought out policies that will make it unlawful for patients and their relatives to come to the hospital and lie to doctors because by so doing, they are currently exposing us and our families.

“In a pandemic, every patient coming into your consulting room is suspected to have COVID-19 until proven otherwise. But the truth is when we don’t have everything that we need to work with, you don’t expect the doctor that is treating the patients not to examine them.

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READ: Covid-19: FG to buy Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

“You will go to some hospitals and they will give a doctor one face mask for two days. You don’t even have gloves. You keep on writing prescriptions for patients to buy gloves and you as a doctor will feel bad because some people don’t even have food to eat, so why should you be writing them prescriptions to be buying gloves?

“Once one of us gets exposed, that person ends up exposing more than 4,000 patients because the doctor-patient ratio in this country is one to about 4,000 patients.”

READ: Covid-19: Sanwo-Olu discloses how Lagos intends to fund vaccination programme

What you should know

The weekly epidemiological report of COVID-19 situation by the NCDC shows that:

  • Lagos has the highest number of covid-19 related deaths – 271 (18.9%).
  • Edo State recorded 127( 8.9%)  deaths out the  1,435 so far in the country.
  • The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has  118 (8.2%)

According to Nairametrics Covid-19 tracker, as of Sunday 24th January 2021

  • The total number of cases stood at 121,566.
  • The total number of death stood at 1,497.
  • The total number of tests conducted stood at 1,258,534.

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Coronavirus

Lagos State already making contacts with vaccine manufacturers – Sanwo-Olu

Governor Sanwo-Olu has stated that the Lagos State Government has commenced talks with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers.

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Lagos announces resumption time table for public and private schools, FESTAC town, Lagos cancels 2018 land use charge, LAND USE CHARGE, Lekki sealed buildings, Lagos state governor issues new guidelines for lockdown, consider full reopening of its economy,Sanwo-Olu gifts families of slain police officers N10 million naira each

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the state has started talks with vaccine manufactures, citing that the state will only work with frontline suppliers.

This was disclosed by the Governor during an interview on Channels TV on Sunday evening.

“We want the Federal government to take the lead and rightfully so, as a sovereign they have all of the protocol and contacts to make that happen. 

“We are conversing, we have a meeting on Tuesday with PTF and NCDC under the Federal umbrella. We want the nation to take the lead (vaccine procurement) and as a state, we are giving them that space, because they are a sovereign they can have that conversation,” the Governor said.

The Governor stated that Lagos has started conversations with companies including AstraZeneca and Pfizer and will skip the operations of middlemen so as not to run foul of protocols.

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“But other than that, as a sub-national, we are also taking our destiny to our hands, we have started conversations with some of the vaccine manufacturers,

“Pfizer, for example, we have made contact with them. The Oxford-AstraZeneca, I have made contacts with them, Johnson and Johnson are not out yet

“We are making our own sub-national contacts, parts of the things that will come out of it is that once we see what the nation is doing because this is something that we do not want to deal with middlemen or people that are not the frontline suppliers,

“We don’t want to run foul of the protocols, but we have started making contacts at board level with the manufacturers.

“How that will work out, we still have a week or 2, but we have started making contacts already,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that Lagos does not have to vaccinate the 20 million population, but “The plan is to ensure that there is herd immunity and that typically speaks about 50-60% of your population.”

What you should know

  • Nairametrics reported last week that the Governor warned that the rising second wave of the pandemic in Lagos has seen the demand for oxygen rise 5 times from 70 six-liter cylinders per day to 350 six-liter cylinders at Yaba Mainland Hospital alone.
  • The Governor added that Lagos is closely monitoring plans by the FG to acquire vaccines and said the State has also resumed discussion with potential manufacturers. He also said the State is building its own regulatory framework for vaccine distribution.

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