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.
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.
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.
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.
COVID-19: CACOVID spent N43.27 billion to support 3 key priorities – CBN
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed that the Coalition Alliance Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has so far incurred an expenditure of N43.27billion on the acquisition of, not only medical equipment and supplies but also food palliatives for vulnerable Nigerians.
The recent press release noted that the funds raised by CACOVID was used to support 3 key priorities – Medical facilities and equipment, food relief programs and communications plans.
The breakdown of the expenditure in the aforementioned areas are:
- Medical Facilities and equipment: In collaboration with other stakeholders, CACOVID developed 39 fully equipped isolation centers across the 36 States of the Country including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The sum of N4.19billion was spent in Building Isolation Centers. In addition, medical equipment such as PCR test kits for suspected cases of COVID-19 were procured along with other required medical items at a cost of N9.02billion.
- Food relief programs: As a way of cushioning the impact of the lockdown on vulnerable citizens, CACOVID provided palliatives in the form of essential food items to 1.7million households, which is equivalent to supporting 8 million Nigerians. A total of N28.76billion was spent procuring these food supplies.
- Communication plans: CACOVID also worked to improve awareness in rural communities on the COVID-19 virus, and the measures community health workers and other members of society should take when someone in the community is suspected of having symptoms similar to that of COVID-19. In lieu of this, expenses were incurred on Print, TV, radio, and social media as part of CACOVID communication plans.
Why this matters
The recent disclosure is in line with the principle of accountability and transparency, as the organization seeks to lay bare facts regarding expenditure incurred so far; thereby, nipping in the bud, suspicions and unfounded rumor.
What you should know
Due to the sudden global health challenge (COVID-19), which wreaked havoc on most economies of the world, coupled with declining oil prices and declined government revenue; the Bankers Committee, comprising the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Deposit Money Banks, as well as key stakeholders in the private sector came together to set up an alliance in March 2020, known as the Coalition Alliance Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
The ultimate objective is working with the government to provide support in areas that would result in improved health and welfare for vulnerable Nigerians.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 25th of November 2020, 198 new confirmed cases 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 66,805 confirmed cases.
On the 25th of November 2020, 198 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 5,838 samples across the country.
To date, 66,805 cases have been confirmed, 62,493 cases have been discharged and 1,169 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 749,136 tests have been carried out as of November 25th, 2020 compared to 743,298 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 25th November 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 66,805
- Total Number Discharged – 62,493
- Total Deaths – 1,169
- Total Tests Carried out – 749,136
According to the NCDC, the 198 new cases were reported from 13 states- FCT (53), Lagos (48), Ogun (40), Akwa Ibom (20), Bauchi (9), Plateau (8), Kaduna (5), Kano (4), Benue (3), Jigawa (3), Nasarawa(3), Edo (1), Kwara (1)
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 23,066, followed by Abuja (6,629), Plateau (3,813), Oyo (3,715), Rivers (2,963), Kaduna (2,945), Edo (2,696), Ogun (2,196), Delta (1,823), Kano (1,781), Ondo (1,727), Enugu (1,332), Kwara (1,096), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,012), Osun (945), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (762), and Borno (745).
Imo State has recorded 662 cases, Benue (496), Nasarawa (488), Bayelsa (445), Ekiti (354), Akwa Ibom (339), Jigawa (331), Niger (296), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (165), Taraba (157), Yobe (94), Kebbi (93), Cross River (90), 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: FG to inaugurate 18-man vaccine task team
FG has announced plans to set up an 18-man Covid-19 Vaccine Task Team with the responsibility to acquire and deploy vaccines in the country.
The Federal Government has announced through the Ministry of Health, that it will inaugurate an 18-man Covid-19 Vaccine Task Team, in a bid to ensure vaccine security In Nigeria.
This was disclosed on Monday by the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja.
He revealed that the need for a task force comes as vaccines would be made available globally. The responsibilities of the task force include the acquisition and deployment of vaccines in the country.
“Now that vaccines are known to be close at hand, the Federal Ministry of Health is taking measures toward vaccine security, for which an 18-man National COVID-19 Vaccine Task Team with seven Terms of Reference (ToR) will be inaugurated.
“The ToR will include generating strategies for acquisition, deployment, and options for licensed production by Biovaccine Nigeria Ltd.
“Our options with WHO/GAVI led Covax facility remains our first line of engagement,” he added.
What you should know
After news of the Pfizer vaccine went viral, Nairametrics reported that the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said Nigerians will benefit early from COVID-19 vaccines when the product is made available for commercial use. He revealed that any vaccine that is deemed fit for commercial use in treating coronavirus will be made available early to Nigerians.
Nairametrics also reported plans by the Nigerian government to set up a vaccine production company in Nigeria to boost local COVID-19 vaccine production.
The G-20 nations announced a pledge to pay for vaccine distribution to developing nations that can’t afford it. The leaders also announced a debt extension programme to developing nations during the weekend’s G-20 summit.