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Covid-19: AstraZenca drugs aims to be ready for large-scale vaccination this year

AstraZeneca has said that its coronavirus vaccine could be ready before the end of the year.

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Oxford COVID-19 vaccine

AstraZeneca, the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidate, has said that its coronavirus shots could be ready for large-scale vaccinations as early as this year, as it expects data from late-stage trials of the data to be also out this year.

The disclosure was made by the Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca Plc, Pascal Soriot, during a television interview with Bloomberg, where he dismissed reports of delays and production snags.

Sorot said the U.K. drugmaker is poised to unveil vaccine test results by year-end even after trials were slightly delayed over the summer as infection rates slowed in the northern hemisphere.

A recent resurgence has allowed scientists to gather the clinical data they need.

AstraZeneca, in collaboration with the University of Oxford, are keeping the vaccine in a frozen bulk state to preserve its shelf life while they await final test results.

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Soriot in the interview said, “At the end of the day, we don’t yet know if the vaccine works,” adding that many questions remain, such as whether it will show results for everyone and for how long.

He said, “We would hope that large-scale vaccinations would be possible starting in January next year – possibly even December.”

Soriot’s remarks comes a day after Kate Bingham, Chair of the U.K. Vaccine Taskforce, said only 4 million doses of the shot would be available by the end of the year – far fewer than the 30 million that were due to be ready by September.

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AstraZeneca said it’s confident it can begin supplying hundreds of millions of doses on a “rolling basis” once a shot is cleared.

It can be recalled that AstraZeneca has been at the forefront of efforts to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic, and its experimental shot could be one of the first to be approved globally, if successful.

Other drugmakers like Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. are all seeking to deliver crucial test results on a vaccine in the coming weeks, with emergency clearance possible before the end of the year.

Astra has said it will sell the vaccine during the pandemic at a price tag of between $4 to $5, depending on local manufacturing charges.

The company said recently it would add as much as 20% to cover manufacturing costs and avoid any material impact on its finances.

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Soriot also said Astra is incurring a bill in excess of $1 billion globally for expenses including clinical development.

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What you should know

Nairametrics had reported that the vaccine candidate which is developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford, has produced a robust immune response in older adults and the elderly – those at highest risk of severe illness.

Astra and Oxford had also enrolled about 23,000 volunteers in vaccine trials globally, with plans to reach 50,000 once the U.S. arm has completed recruitment.

A U.K. government spokesperson said Thursday that “a vaccine will only be deployed once proven to be safe and effective,” and that the National Health Service was ready to start the vaccination program.

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: NCDC issues travel advisory for the yuletide season

The NCDC has issued a public health advisory to the general public as they prepare for the festive season.

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NCDC warns Nigerians against use of chloroquine for COVID-19

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has issued a public health advisory to all members of the public to exercise caution as they celebrate the upcoming festivities – Christmas and New year.

The Commission said that it is fully aware that the yuletide season affords a number of people an opportunity to celebrate with their families and friends and as well for people to travel to visit their loved ones or attend events, but cautioned that everyone has to make necessary adjustments in social interactions in line with the reality of the pandemic to limit the spread of Covid-19.

According to the commission, “Since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Nigeria, just over 67,000 Covid-19 cases have been reported with just over 1,000 deaths. Most of the confirmed cases and deaths have been in urban/semi-urban cities and towns and the risk of spread remains.

“The Covid-19 virus does not spread on its own, it spreads when people move around. This means that by traveling across countries and cities, there is a higher risk of transmission, especially to rural areas where the existing health infrastructure is already weak.”

(READ MORE: Covid-19: Africa prepared for possible second wave – Africa CDC)

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Key highlights of the advisory

  • Limit all non-essential domestic and international travels.
  • As an alternative to traveling, you could still remain socially connected with friends and loved ones using mobile or video conferencing technology.
  • Hold virtual services and prayer sessions to limit the mass congregation.
  • Observe appropriate social distancing protocols and personal hygiene in all public places and events, washing of hands frequently with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty and running water is not readily available.

Why this matters

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has continued to rise across several countries globally. Nigeria is not an exception, with the recent spike recorded in the number of confirmed cases in some major cities.

In the first wave of infections, the economy was paralyzed with lockdowns that lasted for months, and the country cannot afford a second wave which could be more catastrophic.

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COVID-19: Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire contribute 68.3% of confirmed cases in West Africa

Latest data published by the ECOWAS CDC show Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire topping the number of confirmed cases.

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The latest COVID-19 daily update report as of November 29th 2020 released by the ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control indicates there are 205,368 confirmed cases in West Africa.

From the new number, Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire top the list with a total of 140,291 confirmed cases, representing 68.3% whilst the other 12 member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) contributed 31.7%

According to the report, Nigeria has 67,412 confirmed cases (32.8%), Ghana 51,569 (25.1%) and Cote d’Ivoire 21,310 (10.4%).

Nigeria has a recovery rate of 93.5 % which places her on the 8th position, Ghana 97.8 % (2nd position) and Cote d’Ivoire 98.3 % (1st position).

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On CFR (case fatality rate), Nigeria occupies 10th position with 1.74%, Ghana 13th position with 0.63% and Cote d’Ivoire 0.61%, 14th position.

On active cases, Nigeria occupies 8th position with 4.7%, Ghana 12th position with 1.5% and Cote d’Ivoire 13th position with 1.1%.

What you should know

  • As at November 29, 2020, worldwide, there are 62,736,160 confirmed cases, 1,459,243 deaths and CFR of 2.3%
  • In Africa, there are 2,163,389 confirmed cases, 51,708 deaths and CFR of 2.4%
  • In West Africa, there are 205,368 confirmed cases, 2,861 deaths and CFR of 1.41% active cases 8,585)4.3%), recovery rate of 94.3%
  • On recovery rate, Cote d’Ivoire tops the list with 98.3%, followed by Ghana 97.8%, Senegal 97.0% with the least coming from Mali with 67.8%.
  • As regards the death rate (CFR), Liberia tops the list with 5.29%, followed by Niger 5.12% and Mali 3.41% while Guinea is the least with 0.58%.
  • As regards the death rate (CFR), Liberia tops the list with 5.2%, followed by Niger 4.62% and Gambia 3.29% while Guinea is the least with 0.58%.
  • Mali has more active COVID-19 cases with 29.0%, followed by Sierra Leone 20.8% and Niger 15.8% with Gambia contributing the least with 0.5%.

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Covid-19: FG to reduce fatalities by strengthening capacity – Health Minister

The Minister said that the ministry plans to increase its capacity to battle the disease through personnel supervision.

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Minster for health, FG ignores travel ban calls despite Uganda, US, others move against coronavirus, FG reports 10 new cases of COVID-19, COVID-19: FG to inaugurate 18-man vaccine task team

The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) has announced plans to reduce case fatalities of the Covid-19 pandemic by focusing on improving the capability to manage the virus.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, during the daily Joint National Briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 in Abuja.

The Minister said that the ministry plans to increase its capacity to battle the disease through personnel supervision.

He said, “We hope to reduce case fatalities by strengthening our capacity to manage cases, but it is only possible if persons test themselves early. All cases, whether home-based or institutional are to be supervised by medical personnel. This is particularly  important, given the threat posed by the spiralling rate of infection in countries with which Nigeria has strong political, business, social, and family relations.”

(READ MORE: FG may stop interstate and inter-town travels)

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He urged Nigerians to cut off travel to high-risk countries, as the travel rate determines the risk the ministry could contain with.

“There is a correspondingly high volume of travel between Nigeria and those countries, which is what also determines the risk. I also urge all Nigerians to cut off all travels, especially international travels, most especially travels to high risk countries, except it is very urgent.”

He stated that it might take Nigeria a while before securing the vaccines, even though the country had started the process of securing access to a vaccine.

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“Although we are positioning our country for access to the Covid-19 vaccine, it may still take a while for countries to access it and for all citizens to be vaccinated. It is, therefore, more realistic that we adopt preventive measures which have proven to be successful in controlling the pandemic,” Ehanire added.

What you should know: Nairametrics reported in October that Dr. Ehanire said Nigeria increased its daily testing capacity for Covid-19 to over 3,500/day.

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