The World Health Organization (WHO) disclosed on Monday that it has not changed its policy on the aerosol transmission of the coronavirus disease, after United States health officials mistakenly drafted new guidance, warning that it could be transmitted through airborne particles.
While making the disclosure in a press briefing, the Executive Director of WHO’s Emergency Programme, Mike Ryan, said that he would follow up with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the next 24 hours, after it said COVID-19 could spread through airborne particles that could remain suspended in the air and travel beyond six feet.
In a briefing, Mike Ryan said, “Certainly we haven’t seen any new evidence and our position on this remains the same.”
Nairametrics had earlier reported that the WHO while providing an update on the mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that caused the Covid-19) from infected people, revealed that based on new scientific evidence, the coronavirus can be transmitted indoors by droplets in the air.
The UN health agency, in a scientific brief, said that people who spend time in crowded places with poor ventilation are at risk of being infected by the coronavirus as the droplets circulate throughout the air in indoor gatherings.
The CDC said that a draft version of changes to its recommendations were posted in error on its website, while it was in the process of updating its guidance.
It, however, said that the guidance would be reposted as soon as it had completed the review.
The CDC previously disclosed that the virus mainly spread from person to person through respiratory droplets when a sick person coughed, sneezed or talked.
The WHO’s Ryan said the agency still believes the disease is primarily spread through droplets, but that in crowded closed spaces with inadequate ventilation, aerosol transmission can occur.
He said, “We still, based on the evidence, believe that there is a wide range of transmission modes.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The company said in June that it would charge U.S. hospitals roughly $3,120 for most patients who need remdesivir.
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.
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.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 22nd of October 2020, 138 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
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 61,805 confirmed cases.
On the 22nd of October 2020, 138 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 4,648 samples across the country.
To date, 61,805 cases have been confirmed, 56,985 cases have been discharged and 1,127 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 595,283 tests have been carried out as of October 22nd, 2020 compared to 590,635 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 22nd October 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 61,805
- Total Number Discharged – 56,985
- Total Deaths – 1,1127
- Total Tests Carried out – 595,283
According to the NCDC, the 138 new cases were reported from 13 states – Katsina (44), Lagos (35), Kwara (15), Kaduna (13), Plateau (7), Imo (6), Adamawa (5) Rivers (4), Yobe (3), Ogun (2), Oyo (2), Osun (1), FCT (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 20,768, followed by Abuja (5,944), Plateau (3,594), Oyo (3,423), Rivers (2,746), Edo (2,648), Kaduna (2,585), Ogun (1,989), Delta (1,812), Kano (1,741), Ondo (1,659), Enugu (1,314), Kwara (1,065), Ebonyi (1,049), Katsina (948), Osun (919), Abia (898), Gombe (883). Borno (745), and Bauchi (710).
Imo State has recorded 613 cases, Benue (484), Nasarawa (478), Bayelsa (403), Ekiti (329), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (277), Niger (274), Adamawa (257), Sokoto (162), Taraba (122), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Yobe (82), Zamfara (79), 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.