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Coronavirus

Ethiopia to begin manufacture and export of COVID-19 test kits

With the third-highest number of caseloads in Africa, Ethiopia is hoping to manufacture COVID-19 test kits.

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WHO vaccinations, Novavax secures $1.6 billion funding for covid-19 vaccine production

East African nation of Ethiopia has announced that it will begin the manufacture of COVID-19 test kits for export to African nations with China’s help.

This was announced by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health earlier this week. Ethiopia’s deputy State Health minister, Dereje Duguma, announced that the Chinese government is working with the Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed and production is expected to commence this month.

READ: COVID-19: Russia to roll out vaccine in September ahead of the West 

The Minister added that Ethiopia will stop the import of test kits into the country, and will in the nearest future export the manufactured test kits to other African nations. Ethiopia has already tested over 1 million people and had confirmed 58,672 cases of the virus by September 9, including 21,307 recoveries and 918 deaths.

Health Minister, Leah Tadesse thanked Ethiopia’s health workers for working tirelessly across the country’s 52 coronavirus testing centers.

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READ: NCDC launches online course on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases

“As we pass one million tests, I would like to sincerely thank all our health workers working tirelessly, particularly those working as sample collectors, our lab technicians, rapid response teams, contact tracers, logistic teams, drivers and all coordinators and leaders of all labs and facilities across the country,” she said.

READ: Consortium of Western investors to inject upwards of $5 billion in Nigeria’s renewable energy sector

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China has been working closely with the country and recently donated for the 3rd time 500,000 surgical masks and 10,000 pieces of protective medical gear.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 23rd of October 2020, 77 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 significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 61,882 confirmed cases.

On the 23rd of October 2020, 77 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 9,956 samples across the country.

To date, 61,882 cases have been confirmed, 57,190 cases have been discharged and 1,129 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 602,239 tests have been carried out as of October 23rd, 2020 compared to 595,283 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 23rd October 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 61,882
  • Total Number Discharged – 57,190
  • Total Deaths – 1,1129
  • Total Tests Carried out – 602,239

According to the NCDC, The 77 new cases were reported from 11 states – Lagos (41), Kaduna (20), Rivers (19), FCT (4), Osun (3), Ondo (2), Sokoto (2), Kwara (2), Benue (2), Imo (1), Ogun (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 20,789, followed by Abuja (5,948), Plateau (3,594), Oyo (3,423), Rivers (2,765), Edo (2,648), Kaduna (2,605), Ogun (1,990), Delta (1,812), Kano (1,741), Ondo (1,661), Enugu (1,314),  Kwara (1,067), Ebonyi (1,049), Katsina (948), Osun (922), Abia (898), Gombe (883).  Borno (745), and Bauchi (710).

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Imo State has recorded 614 cases, Benue (486), Nasarawa (478), Bayelsa (403),  Ekiti (329), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (277), Niger (274), Adamawa (257), Sokoto (164), Taraba (122), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Yobe (82), Zamfara (79), 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.

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

 

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: US FDA grants full approval to remdesivir as first vaccine to treat coronavirus

Remdesivir has become the first drug to obtain formal clearance for treating the coronavirus disease.

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remdesivir as first vaccine , Developing countries will pay less for COVID-19 drug – Gilead reveals 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday granted full approval to Gilead Sciences Inc. for its antiviral drug, remdesivir, making it the first drug to obtain formal clearance for treating the coronavirus disease after conditional authorization was given in May.

The regulators had granted an emergency use authorization for remdesivir earlier this year, and since then, the drug has become a widely used therapy for hospitalized Covid-19 patients. It was also reportedly given to President Donald Trump this month, when he was diagnosed with the coronavirus disease.

READ: UK to roll out COVID-19 vaccine in less than 3 months and mass vaccination by Easter

This was disclosed in a statement by Gilead Sciences on Thursday.

In its statement, Gilead said, “Veklury is now the first and only approved Covid-19 treatment in the United States.’’ While the drug was in short supply initially, Gilead said that the medicine is now widely available in hospitals across the country as manufacturing capacity has rapidly expanded.

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READ: COVID-19: US to have enough vaccines for vulnerable Americans by end of 2020

This is coming some days after the World Health Organization (WHO) study had discovered that the remdesivir anti-viral drug had little or no effect on Covid-19 patients’ length of stay in the hospital or chances of survival. The WHO said it failed to prevent deaths among patients.

However, Gilead has criticized the WHO study. In a letter posted on the company’s website, Chief Medical Officer Merdad Parsey said the findings didn’t negate other results.

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READ: Remdesivir has received FDA’s emergency approval to treat COVID-19, according to Trump

The approval of remdesivir, sold under the brand name Veklury, will allow Gilead to market the drug and talk about its benefits to doctors, nurses, and patients. That could help solidify its position as a go-to medicine for Covid-19 patients, even as other drugs for the disease begin to reach the market.

Other treatments have received authorization for emergency use, although that approval can be revoked once the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic is over. Other medications like the steroid dexamethasone are also being used in the fight against Covid-19.

READ: COVID-19: World Bank approves $114 million response funds for Nigeria

Shares of Gilead gained 4.1% in trading after the close of regular market hours on Thursday. According to 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, it is estimated that remdesivir will have sales of $2.17 billion this year.

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The company said in June that it would charge U.S. hospitals roughly $3,120 for most patients who need remdesivir.

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The approval is based on a U.S. government-sponsored trial involving over 1,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients that found that those who received the drug recovered about five days faster than those who got a placebo.

READ: Pfizer targets use of its Covid-19 vaccine by late November this year

The overall side-effect rate was similar to the placebo in the government study. The most common side effects are nausea and elevated liver enzymes, according to the product’s label.

What this means: This will be a very huge boost to the global search for a vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic which has negatively impacted on the global economy with over 1 million deaths. This also appears to be a boost for Donald Trump, who had sought the development of a Covid-19 vaccine before the US Presidential election.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19: US to have enough vaccines for vulnerable Americans by end of 2020

The US said it is likely to have enough safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate Americans by the end of 2020.

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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

The United States, On Wednesday, revealed that the country is likely to have enough safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available to inoculate the most vulnerable Americans by the end of 2020.

The U.S. government is cautiously optimistic that one or two vaccines, likely from Pfizer Inc or Moderna Inc, will be available by the end of the year, and can begin to be distributed to Americans, officials said during a news conference.

READ: EU to buy $478 million WHO COVID-19 vaccine for low and middle income countries

This was disclosed by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, on Wednesday, October 22, 2020.

Azar said he expected that all seniors, healthcare workers, and first responders would be able to receive vaccines as soon as January, with the rest of the American public able to get vaccines by April.

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Companies participating in the U.S. government’s effort to develop vaccines for COVID-19, dubbed “Operation Warp Speed”, have begun developing manufacturing capabilities even before any vaccination has been authorized by regulators.

READ: China joins WHO vaccine programme as it fills huge gap left by United States

Backstory

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Nairametrics had reported that in an open letter, the Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer Inc, Albert Bourla, disclosed that it could seek emergency authorization to use the COVID-19 vaccine in the US by late November, after the US Presidential election.

The coronavirus outbreak has been worsening in recent weeks as cold weather pushes Americans indoors, raising the chance of contracting the virus. Some 38 U.S. states and two territories have reported rising case counts. More than 8 million Americans have been infected with the novel coronavirus and more than 200,000 have died.

READ: World Bank announces $12 billion COVID-19 vaccine finance plan for poor countries

What this means

This announcement rules out the assertion by US President, Donald Trump, that a COVID-19 vaccine would be ready before the Presidential election. However, this news is still a huge boost for the country, which has been one of the most hit globally from the pandemic.

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