AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine appears to have shown limited protection against mild disease caused by the variant first identified in South Africa, according to early data from a trial.
The efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine which is developed by the University of Oxford in collaboration with British drugmaker, AstraZeneca Plc, against severe Covid-19 cases, hospitalization and deaths, is yet to be determined.
A report from Reuters says that a study from South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand and Oxford University showed the vaccine had significantly reduced efficacy against the South African variant, according to a Financial Times (FT), which first reported it earlier in the day.
Public health experts and scientists have expressed concerns over the South African, British and Brazilian new Covid-19 variants, which is reported to spread faster than others.
What the AstraZeneca spokesman is saying
An AstraZeneca spokesman, in response to the FT report, said, “In this small phase I/II trial, early data has shown limited efficacy against mild disease primarily due to the B.1.351 South African variant.’’
The newspaper report said none of the over 2,000 participants in the study had died or was hospitalized
He said, “However, we have not been able to properly ascertain its effect against severe disease and hospitalization given that subjects were predominantly young healthy adults.’’
The company’s spokesman also said that the firm believes its vaccine could protect against severe disease, as the neutralizing antibody activity was equivalent to that of other COVID-19 vaccines that have demonstrated protection against severe disease, particularly when the dosing interval is optimized to 8-12 weeks.
Going further, the Drugmaker’s Spokesman said, “Oxford University and AstraZeneca have started adapting the vaccine against this variant and will advance rapidly through clinical development so that it is ready for Autumn delivery should it be needed.’’
The Financial Times said that the study which involved 2,026 people with half of them forming the placebo group, has not been peer-reviewed.
What you need to know
- The new variant of the coronavirus disease first identified in South Africa is fast emerging as a new threat to the prospect of putting an end to the pandemic globally as some countries roll out initial vaccine doses.
- The more contagious strain of the coronavirus, which has now been detected in the US, has raised concerns over how it will respond to Covid-19 vaccines and whether people who already had the disease could get it again from the new strain.
- The discovery and spread of the South African variant coincided with a powerful surge in infection rate in the country, with researchers believing that the new variant is around 50% more contagious.
- On Friday Oxford said their vaccine has similar efficacy against the British coronavirus variant as it does to the previously circulating variants.
Covid-19: Nigeria’s COVAX supplies on its way soon – Okonjo-Iweala
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has stated that Nigeria’s COVAX vaccine supplies are on the way.
The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation and former Nigerian Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has revealed that Nigeria’s COVAX vaccine supplies will soon be on the way while stating that the WTO must be part of the process for transparent vaccines delivery.
The WTO boss disclosed this in a social media statement on Wednesday evening, where she expressed joy that Ghana had received 600,000 COVAX vaccines.
She said, “Very happy to see first delivery of #COVAX supported vaccines to Ghana… Excited to see more countries following. Nigeria’s supplies should be on its way soon.
“No trade restrictions or bureaucracy should get in the way. The WTO must be part of the solution.”
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported that Ghana had 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.
- “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,” the WHO said.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 24th of February 2021, 655 new confirmed cases and 11 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 153,842 confirmed cases.
On the 24th of February 2021, 655 new confirmed cases and 11 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
To date, 153,842 cases have been confirmed, 130,818 cases have been discharged and 1,885 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 1.49 million tests have been carried out as of February 24th, 2021 compared to 1.44 million tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 24th February 2021,
- Total Number of Cases – 153,842
- Total Number Discharged – 130,818
- Total Deaths – 1,885
- Total Tests Carried out – 1,489,103
According to the NCDC, the 655 new cases are reported from 21 states- Lagos (240), Ogun (88), Rivers (56), FCT (51), Kaduna (43), Kano (25), Plateau (21), Taraba (19), Edo (17), Abia (15), Delta (13), Nasarawa (11), Akwa Ibom (10), Kwara (10), Oyo (10), Kebbi (9), Borno (5), Bayelsa (4), Gombe (4), Ekiti (2), and Osun (2).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 55,122, followed by Abuja (19,115), Plateau (8,854), Kaduna (8,422), Oyo (6,708), Rivers (6,398), Edo (4,491), Ogun (4,277), Kano (3,716), Ondo (2,944), Kwara (2,875), Delta (2,539), Osun (2,326), Nasarawa (2,208), Gombe (2,031), Katsina (2,029), Enugu (1,998), Ebonyi (1,839), Anambra (1,615), and Abia (1,487).
Imo State has recorded 1,440 cases, Akwa Ibom (1,439), Borno (1,247), Bauchi (1,221), Benue (1,188), Niger (912), Ekiti (797), Sokoto (768), Bayelsa (767), Adamawa (762), Taraba (712), Jigawa (496), Kebbi (358), Yobe (268), Cross River (267), Zamfara (219), 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.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.
Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.
On 26th January 2021, the Federal Government announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month following the rising cases of the coronavirus disease in the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.
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