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Coronavirus

COVID-19 vaccine likely to be ready by December – WHO

The WHO has insisted that a vaccine may not be ready until the end of 2020.

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COVID-19 vaccine likely to be ready by December - WHO, Virtual hackathon: WHO offers $20,000 to curb Coronavirus with African-tech solution, covid-19, coronavirus

The World Health Organization (WHO), has hinted that a vaccine against the novel coronavirus disease may be ready by the end of the year.

This disclosure was made by the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Tuesday, October 5, 2020, during the UN agency’s Executive Board meeting that examined the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He called for solidarity and political commitment by all leaders to ensure equal distribution of vaccines when they become available.

READ: Global fight against COVID-19 suffers setback, as Trump suspends WHO funding

Tedros, in a final remark to the WHO’s Executive Board, said, “We will need vaccines and there is hope that by the end of this year we may have a vaccine. There is hope.’

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This announcement is coming on the day the European Union health regulator, launched a real-time review of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by US drugmaker, Pfizer and Germany’s VioNTech, following a similar announcement for AstraZeneca’s vaccine last week.

READ: Emirates Airlines banned from operating in Nigeria

The WHO-led COVAX global vaccine facility currently has 9 experimental vaccines that are under its development, and it aims to distribute 2 billion doses by the end of 2021.

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The two-day WHO executive board meeting, which examined the global response to the pandemic, heard calls from countries including Germany, Britain and Australia for reforms to strengthen the U.N. agency.

The WHO has been heavily criticized by President Donald Trump’s administration over its role in the management of the pandemic crisis, accusing it of being too close to China and not doing enough to question Beijing’s actions late last year when the virus first emerged in Wuhan.

READ: Fitch Ratings: Nigeria clinches a stable ‘B’ Issuer Default Rating

Tedros has, however, dismissed the suggestions and said his agency has kept the world informed.

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, met for the first time last month.

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Tedros said, “We hope to get the real lessons that we can implement and prevent the same thing from happening. But I would like to assure you that WHO is ready to learn from this and change this organization.”

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READ: WHO says review of COVID-19 response to start, reveals this won’t be the last pandemic

“During our transformation, we promised this, we promised to keep the change as a constant,” he said, referring to his programme since taking the helm in 2017.

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 Update in Nigeria

On the 26th of October 2020, 119 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 62,111 confirmed cases.

On the 26th of October 2020, 119 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 4,719 samples across the country.

To date, 62,111 cases have been confirmed, 57,571 cases have been discharged and 1,132 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 612,154 tests have been carried out as of October 26th, 2020 compared to 607,435 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 26th October 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 62,111
  • Total Number Discharged – 57,571
  • Total Deaths – 1,1132
  • Total Tests Carried out – 612,154

According to the NCDC, the 119 new cases were reported from 6 states- Lagos (77), FCT (26), Plateau (9), Edo (4), Oyo (2), Nasarawa (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 20,884, followed by Abuja (5,993), Plateau (3,603), Oyo (3,425), Rivers (2,773), Edo (2,652), Kaduna (2,617), Ogun (2,010), Delta (1,812), Kano (1,742), Ondo (1,666), Enugu (1,314),  Kwara (1,067), Ebonyi (1,049), Katsina (952), Osun (923), Abia (898), Gombe (883).  Borno (745), and Bauchi (710).

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Imo State has recorded 614 cases, Benue (486), Nasarawa (479), Bayelsa (403),  Ekiti (332), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (277), Niger (274), Adamawa (257), Sokoto (165), Taraba (140), 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: AstraZeneca vaccine gets huge boost, produces immune response in elderly

The experimental vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca Plc produced a robust immune response in older adults and the elderly.

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Covid-19: AstraZeneca vaccine gets huge boost, produces immune response in elderly, Vaccine, COVID-19: Russia to roll out vaccine in September ahead of the West 

One of the world’s leading Covid-19 vaccine candidate, which is being developed by the University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca, has produced a similar immune response in both older and younger adults with adverse responses being lower among the elderly.

While making the disclosure on Monday, the British drugmaker, AstraZeneca Plc, said the experimental vaccine produced a robust immune response in older adults and the elderly.

READ: COVID-19 vaccine likely to be ready by December – WHO

This raises hope of the early development of a vaccine for the corona virus that has killed over a million people across the world with a devastating impact on the global economy.

AstraZeneca, described as encouraging, the results and findings on immunogenicity blood tests carried out on a subset of older participants, which echo data released in July that showed the vaccine generated robust immune responses in healthy adults aged 18 to 55

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An AstraZeneca spokesman told Reuters, “It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher.’’

READ: AstraZeneca suspends COVID-19 vaccine final stage trial over safety concerns

“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesman said, referring to the technical name of the vaccine.

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The news that older people got an immune response from the vaccine is positive because the immune system weakens with age and older people are those most at risk of dying from the virus.

It was earlier reported by Financial Times that the vaccine, being developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca, triggers protective antibodies and T-cells in older age groups – among those most at risk from the virus.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be one of the first from big pharmacies to secure regulatory approval, along with Pfizer PFE.N and BioNTech’s 22UAy.F candidate.

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

If it works, a vaccine would allow the world to return to some measure of normality after the tumult of the pandemic.

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British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a vaccine was not yet ready though he was preparing logistics for a possible rollout.

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Hancock in a chat with BBC, said, “I would expect the bulk of the rollout to be in the first half of next year.’’

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

He said that is not his central expectation, he does not rule out the possibility of some people having access to the vaccine this year.

Hancock also said, “We want to be ready in case everything goes perfectly but it’s not my central expectation that we’ll be doing that this year, but the programme is progressing well, we’re not there yet.’’

Explore Data on the Nairametrics Research Website

It can be recalled that one of the frontline vaccine candidates being developed by University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc, after regulatory approval, resumed its trial in the US after it was initially halted due to some safety concerns

The British drugmaker has signed several supplies and manufacturing deals with companies and governments around the world as it gets closer to reporting early results of a late-stage clinical trial.

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COVID-19: WHO warns against Gilead’s remdesivir drug approved by US FDA

WHO has expressed concern over the health implication of Gilead Science Inc’s recently approved remdesivir vaccine.

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

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned health officials reviewing Gilead Science Inc’s GILD.O remdesivir against COVID-19 to consider all evidence, including a trial where the medicine failed, before giving its approval to the anti-viral drug.

While making the disclosure during a news conference, Chief Scientist at WHO, Soumya Swaminathan, said that the US regulators, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), appeared not to have considered the evidence when approving the drug this week.

Backstory

Nairametrics earlier reported that the US Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, granted full approval to Gilead’s antiviral drug for treating patients hospitalized with COVID-19, making it the first and only drug approved for the disease in the United States.

The approval came days after a WHO study had discovered the remdesivir anti-viral drug had little or no effect on COVID-19 patients’ length of stay in the hospital or chances of survival. WHO said it failed to prevent deaths among patients.

Swaminathan said that the FDA did not appear to have taken the global health body’s study into account in its approval.

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When asked about the FDA move during the news conference, Swaminathan said, “We believe our results are very robust. We hope that people who are doing treatment guidelines in other countries, as well as regulators around the world, will take note of our study results, in addition to the other evidence.”

“Because you need to look at the global evidence for a drug before you make decisions,” she added.

For the remdesivir arm of the WHO’s Solidarity trial, 2,743 patients were given the treatment, compared to 2,708 in the control group.

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Gilead’s own study of 1,062 participants, produced data indicating that the treatment cut COVID-19 recovery time by 5 days and helped reduce the risk of death in some patients who were getting oxygen.

The WHO said that the company, which has raised the possibility of bias in the unblinded WHO study because patients and their doctors were aware of which treatments were being used, got initial data showing that remdesivir failed the Solidarity trial in late September. However, the U.S. company said that it had told the FDA about initial Solidarity results.

The FDA did not immediately comment on Swaminathan’s statement that the U.S. agency did not take Solidarity data into account in its approval.

The WHO also disclosed on Friday that its formal guidelines on the use of remdesivir for COVID-19 should be ready for release in 3 to 4 weeks after a separate group within the United Nations health agency would have reviewed data from the study.

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