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Coronavirus

Britain struggles to contain Covid mutations

The U.K. had to “come down hard” on the South African variant after 105 cases have emerged in the country.

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coronavirus, COVID-19: Infections rise to 42 as 2 new cases are confirmed, COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

The United Kingdom is aggressively scrambling to contain the spread of more mutations of the coronavirus with more worrying variants discovered in South Africa.

According to CNBC News, the U.K. had to “come down hard” on the South African variant after 105 cases have emerged in the country, and 11 of those cases had no links to international travel.

READ: IMF optimistic about global economy but warns new Covid variants could affect recovery

According to CNBC News,

  • “The South Africa variant had further worried experts that were concerned that coronavirus vaccines developed over the last year might not be so effective against it; there had also been worries that the South Africa variant could evade antibody drugs.
  • “Vaccine makers have said there is little evidence to show that their shots will be ineffective against new variants, and say that they should be able to adapt their vaccines to new variants in a number of weeks, if necessary.
  • “British pharmaceutical, GlaxoSmithKline and German biotech firm CureVac announced a 150 million euro ($180 million) deal to develop Covid vaccines that target several variants in one product.
  • “The U.K.’s vaccination program continues to gather steam and is on track to have vaccinated its top four priority groups (the over-70s, residents and staff in elderly care homes, frontline health and social care workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable) numbering around 15 million people, by mid-February.”

READ: 75 Health workers test positive for Covid-19, 6 more B.1.1.7 variant detected in Nigeria

What you should know

  • U.K. launched an enhanced testing program for around 80,000 people living in areas where pockets of cases with the mutation have been found.
  • To assess the spread of the South African variant, tests are being offered door-to-door and positive cases are properly isolated for proper analysis
  • Persons living in high-risk areas have been told to consider limiting the time they spend outside their homes as health authorities scramble to prevent the spread of yet another more infectious variant.
  • A dangerous variant of the mutation, now known as the “British mutation,” has already become the dominant strain in many parts of the country.
  • Mutations of any virus have been noted to be normal but could mutate at all times. The concern of experts and policy makers are the mutations that could allow the virus to spread far more quickly.
  • In the UK, as of Feb.1, over 9.6 million people had received a first dose of the vaccine, and just under 500,000 had received two doses

Johnson is a risk management professional and banker with unbridled passion for research and writing. He graduated top of the class with B.sc Statistics from the University of Nigeria and an MBA degree with specialization in Finance from Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, with fellowships from the Association of Enterprise Risk management Professionals(FERP) and Institute of Credit and Collections management of Nigeria (FICCM). He is currently pursuing his PhD in Risk management in one of the top-rated universities in the UK.

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Coronavirus

Covid:19 WHO says wealthy countries are undermining COVAX vaccine initiative

WHO DG has said that the deal between rich countries and vaccine manufacturers is undermining its COVAX initiative.

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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 Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said that the deal between high-income countries and manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccine are undermining its COVAX initiative by reducing the number of doses it can purchase.

This is as he pleads with rich countries to check before ordering additional Covid-19 vaccine shots for themselves whether that undermines efforts to get vaccine shots to poorer nations.

According to a report from Al Jazeera, this was disclosed by the WHO boss after talks with German President, Walter Steinmeier

Wealthy nations have snapped up several billion vaccine doses and some countries have ordered enough shots to vaccinate their populations more than once, while some countries in the developing world have little or none.

Tedros said that these actions by the rich countries have even led to the reduction of the amount that was allocated to COVAX, although he did not mention the names of the countries involved or provide other details.

He harped on the need for the rich countries to cooperate in respecting the deals that COVAX has with the manufacturers and make sure before they seek more vaccines that their requests do not undermine those deals.

Tedros said, “But I don’t think they’re asking that question.’’

Tedros, who has earlier warned that the world faces a catastrophic moral failure if Covid-19 vaccines are not distributed fairly, said he understands the political pressures leaders in high-income countries face.

He said, “If this virus is not defeated everywhere, we cannot defeat it globally. It will have a safe haven somewhere and can strike back.’’

He added that countries left behind in vaccinating could also become breeding grounds for new variants.

He also called for the stepping up of vaccine production because with increased production, there will be more vaccines available, then there is a better volume to share.

What you should know

  • The WHO has kicked against vaccine nationalism, which they said will prolong the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. A successful global vaccination campaign is considered to be key to stemming the pandemic.
  • This led to the launching of the WHO-backed COVAX initiative to ensure equitable distribution of the coronavirus vaccine across the globe, especially among the poorer countries.
  • European nations have given financial support to the UN-backed COVAX scheme, which aims to get vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people and are considering sharing some of their own doses, though they have not specified when.
  • On Friday, leaders of the Group of Seven industrial powers said they would accelerate global vaccine development and deployment and support “affordable and equitable access to vaccines” and treatments for COVID-19.

They cited a collective $7.5bn from the G7 to UN-backed efforts.

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Coronavirus

Ghana receives World’s first doses of free WHO Covax vaccines

Ghana received its first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from Covax.

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Ghana has received the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from Covax, a global scheme to procure and distribute inoculations for free, as the world races to contain the pandemic.

This was disclosed by World Health Organisation (WHO) Accra, Ghana via it’s Twitter handle on Wednesday.

Covax, launched last April to help ensure a fairer distribution of coronavirus vaccines between rich and poor nations, said it would deliver two billion doses to its members by the end of the year.

READ: Health Minister says Nigeria may get COVID-19 vaccines in 10 days

In a joint statement issued by UNICEF and WHO, it stated, “We are pleased that Ghana has become the first country to receive the Covid-19 vaccines from the Covax facility.

“The 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine licensed by the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India, are part of an initial tranche of deliveries headed to several low and middle-income countries.”

According to France24, the Emirates flight carrying the vaccines touched down at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport shortly after 0740 GMT, according to images broadcast on television.

READ: African Union secures 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from drugmakers

 

What you should know

  • Covax had said it aimed to deliver 2,412,000 doses of the vaccine to Ghana.
  • The country’s food and drug authority has authorised the use of the vaccines made in India as well as the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia.
  • The West African nation has recorded 80,759 Covid-19 cases and 582 deaths since the start of the pandemic. These figures are believed to fall short of the real toll as the number of tests is low.
  • Health workers and other frontline staff are meant to be among the first to receive doses.
  • “In the days ahead, frontline workers will begin to receive vaccines,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said. “The next phase in the fight against this disease can begin – the ramping up of the largest immunization campaign in history.”

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