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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

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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FG yet to purchase Covid-19 vaccines – Minister of State for Health

According to a disclosure made by the Minister of State for Health, the FG is yet to purchase any COVID-19 vaccine.

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NPHCDA to address infrastructural gaps in COVID-19 vaccine supply, FG to focus on procurement of Covid-19 vaccine in first quarter 2021

The Federal Government has said that it is yet to purchase any Covid-19 vaccines as the country is still assessing the prices of different shots, their availability and the logistics required for a nationwide roll-out.

This is coming at a time when developed economies are rolling out the vaccines in their countries and concerns have been raised about the availability of the Covid-19 doses in the African continent.

This disclosure was made by the Minister of State for Health Adeleke Olurunnimbe Mamora, during a telephone interview with Bloomberg.

What the Minister of State for Health is saying

Mamora said that once the government determines which vaccines are accessible and affordable, authorities then have to consider storage and distribution issues as they prepare to give shots to 200 million people.

He said, “We haven’t made any purchases at this point in time.’’ He added that the government expects to have a definitive plan by the end of January.

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Nigeria is working with the World Health Organization backed COVAX programme and hopes to receive its first doses in January. The Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had said that the country is working on what type and quantity of Covid-19 vaccines to procure and financial provision will be made in the 2021 budget for the vaccines.

COVAX is a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization which aims to provide equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, especially to poor countries.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that Bloomberg had reported that experts and a state governor had expressed doubts about the ambitious plan by Nigeria to vaccinate as much as 40% of its population this year due to lack of resources and infrastructure.
  • The Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, said on Thursday the country expects to receive 100,000 doses of Pfizer Inc’s shot at the end of January through the Covax initiative.
  • Nigeria has officially reported 107,345 Covid-19 cases, with 1,413 casualties, but testing is not easily accessible for most people, with only about 1.1 million tests conducted so far.

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COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 16th of January 2021, 1,598 new confirmed cases and 7 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 108,943 confirmed cases.

On the 16th of January 2021, 1,598 new confirmed cases and 7 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

To date, 108,943 cases have been confirmed, 85,367 cases have been discharged and 1,420 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 1.13 million tests have been carried out as of January 16th, 2021 compared to 1.03 million tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 16th January 2021,

  • Total Number of Cases – 108,943
  • Total Number Discharged – 85,367
  • Total Deaths – 1,420
  • Total Tests Carried out – 1,135,535

According to the NCDC, the 1,598 new cases were reported from 24 states- Lagos (461), FCT (206), Plateau (197), Rivers (168), Kaduna (116), Anambra (53), Ogun (49), Ebonyi (47), Edo (42), Sokoto (32), Imo (31), Katsina (31), Oyo (30), Akwa Ibom (27), Delta (16), Kano (16), Abia (15), Niger (15), Ondo (11), Bayelsa (10), Borno (9), Kebbi (8), Ekiti (7), Jigawa (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 39,723, followed by Abuja (14,544), Plateau (6,617), Kaduna (6,121),  Oyo (4,679), Rivers (4,382), Edo (3,246), Ogun (2,831), Kano (2,577), Delta (2,102), Ondo (2,070), Katsina (1,723), Enugu (1,583), Kwara (1,566), Gombe (1,489), Nasarawa (1,269), Ebonyi (1,206), Osun (1,186),  Abia (1,129), and Bauchi (1,107).

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Borno State has recorded 859 cases, Imo (841), Sokoto (677), Benue (653), Akwa Ibom (615), Bayelsa (608), Niger (547), Adamawa (540), Anambra (513), Ekiti (466), Jigawa (425), Taraba (258), Kebbi (248), Yobe (207), Cross River (169),  Zamfara (162), 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.

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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.

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

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Combined Vaccine Manufacturing capacity to hit 6.8 billion doses in 2021

COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity is expected to hit 6.8 billion doses in 2021.

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Covid-19: First world nations oppose waiving intellectual rights for vaccine development

Meristem Group disclosed that the combined effort in manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines for global use is expected to yield about 6.8 billion doses in 2021.

This was revealed in the Annual Outlook 2021 report presented by Meristem Group, titled Bracing for a different future.”

According to the report, the existing manufacturing capacity will only be sufficient enough to immunize about 44% of the global population, which would create obvious vaccination gap and make the pandemic last longer than necessary.

The report states,

  • The cold temperature requirements for vaccine storage pose major logistics concern particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and other low-income countries. WHO estimates that about 50% of vaccines are wasted every year, largely due to a lack of temperature control.”

According to the report, the estimated 6.8billion doses are expected to be collaboratively manufactured as follows:  CanSino – 0.2billion, AstraZeneca – 3.0 billion, Gamaleya – 0.3billion, Moderna – 0.4billion, Pfizer-BioNtech – 1.3billion, SinoPharm – 1billion, and SinoVac – 0.6billion.

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What you should know

  • The global population as of 2020 is 7.8billion and 70% is required to achieve herd immunity (otherwise called herd protection)
  • Herd Immunity or herd protection is achieved when you have most of the population immunized against an infectious disease.
  • 2 doses of the vaccines are required for each person for immunity.
  • It is expected that between 11 and 15 billion doses would be required to achieve the desired herd immunity, globally.
  • From all indications, herd immunity may not be achieved until mid or late 2022, with the subsisting 100% vaccine production capacity utilization in 2021 – with neither production nor distribution losses.
  • To achieve regulatory approval, a vaccine must undergo a three-stage clinical development process after the exploratory and pre-clinical stages and the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets a phase 3 efficacy benchmark of 50%.

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