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Month: January 2021

NCDC issues Lassa Fever Public Health Advisory

NCDC issues Lassa Fever Public Health Advisory

NEWS
  The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has issued a Lassa fever Public health advisory to Nigerians. In the advisory, the Director-General, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said that people of all age groups who come in contact with the urine, faeces, saliva or blood of rats are at risk of getting Lassa fever. Others at risk, he said, are people living in rat-infested environments which increases their chances of coming in contact with rats and people who consume potentially contaminated foodstuff especially those left open over-night or dried outside in the open. Others, he said, are people who handle or process rodents for consumption and people who do not perform hand hygiene when appropriate. To reduce the risk of Lassa fever, Mr Ihekweazu advised Nigerian to en
PTF charges market leaders on temperature checks, others

PTF charges market leaders on temperature checks, others

Coronavirus, NEWS
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has charged market authorities to ensure temperature checks before buyers and sellers transact businesses at the various markets scattered all over the country. PTF National Incident Manager, Mukhtar Muhammed, stated this on Friday while featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme monitored by The PUNCH. He said market leaders must take responsibility and ensure traders and buyers comply with COVID-19 protocols including the use of face masks, social distancing and washing of hands at market places. Muhammed said, “We want economic activities to continue but this has to be in a regulated fashion where there won’t be increased risk for people transacting their businesses. “We would want to see a market where before you e
Does Covid-19 Impact Male Fertility? Experts Urge Caution About New Evidence

Does Covid-19 Impact Male Fertility? Experts Urge Caution About New Evidence

NEWS
  Severe cases of Covid-19 might impact the quality of a man's sperm, thus possibly impacting his fertility, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Reproduction.   "This report provides the first direct evidence to date that COVID-19 infection impairs semen quality and male reproductive potential," the study said. However, experts not involved in the study were immediately skeptical about the report's conclusion and urged caution in overgeneralizing the research findings.   "I need to raise a strong note of caution in their interpretation of this data. For example, the authors state that their data demonstrates that 'COVID-19 infection causes significant impairments of male reproductive function' yet it only actually shows an associa...
New COVID-19 Variants Fuelling Africa’s Second Wave -WHO

New COVID-19 Variants Fuelling Africa’s Second Wave -WHO

NEWS
  The World Health Organisation Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, says COVID-19 cases and deaths are surging in Africa as new, more contagious variants of the virus spread to additional countries. Over 175,000 new COVID-19 cases and more than 6,200 deaths were reported in Africa in the last week while infections rose by 50 per cent on the continent between 29 December 2020 and 25 January 2021 when compared with the previous four weeks. According to the UN agency, there has been a small dip in cases in South Africa in the past week, but 22 countries continue to see their case numbers surge. “Deaths rose two-fold in the same four-week period, with over 15 000 concentrated in 10 mainly southern and northern African nations. “The 501Y.V2 variant, first i
FDA Grants Orphan Drug Designation to Uttroside-B for Liver Cancer

FDA Grants Orphan Drug Designation to Uttroside-B for Liver Cancer

NEWS
  The FDA has granted Orphan Drug Designation to Uttroside-B (Q Biomed Inc), a small molecule chemotherapeutic for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer. In preclinical studies, Uttroside-B was up to 10 times more potent against HCC cells than sorafenib, the standard of care drug at the time, according to a press release. Uttroside-B may benefit from a 7-year period of market exclusivity following marketing approval, grant funding for clinical trials that contribute to marketing approval, protocol assistance, and tax credits. Further, preclinical testing is now underway to support an FDA Investigational New Drug application expected this year. "Orphan Drug Designation gives our Uttroside-B program a substantial boost, and we...
Pfizer/BioNTech Say Vaccine Effective against UK, South Africa COVID-19 Variants

Pfizer/BioNTech Say Vaccine Effective against UK, South Africa COVID-19 Variants

NEWS
  The vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech appears to retain its effectiveness against coronavirus mutations in worrying new variants that have emerged recently in Britain and South Africa, the firms said on Thursday. Several new variants – each with a cluster of genetic mutations – have sparked fears over an increase in infectiousness as well as suggestions that the virus could begin to elude immune response, whether from prior infection or a vaccine. Pfizer/BioNTech, which had previously said it was unlikely that the strain originally found in Britain could escape vaccine protection, said Thursday that early tests suggest their immunisation would be similarly protective against the variant in South Africa. In a statement, the two companies said these preliminary findi
Details of COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021

Details of COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021

NEWS
  This is the detail of COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021, as signed into law by the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd). Defaulers risk a fine or six-month jail terms, says Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha. It is titled: CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) HEALTH PROTECTION REGULATIONS 2021 In the exercise of the powers conferred upon me by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010 and all other powers enabling me in that behalf; and in consideration of the urgent need to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of the widespread and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, I, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hereby make the following Reg
Fine, 6-month jail for those flouting COVID-19 protocols, says FG

Fine, 6-month jail for those flouting COVID-19 protocols, says FG

NEWS
Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, says the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, (retd) has signed a law enforcing observance of non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 protocols. Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, and other relevant local government, state and Federal Government agencies were directed to enforce the provisions of thee regulations. Mustapha disclosed this while delivering five ambulances donated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to the Federal Ministry of Health on Wednesday in Abuja. Mustapha said that the bill, title...
‘Vaccines May Be Ineffective on South Africa’s COVID-19 Variant’

‘Vaccines May Be Ineffective on South Africa’s COVID-19 Variant’

NEWS
  Data from trials conducted on the effectiveness of several new vaccines against South Africa’s COVID-19 variants will be available before the end of the week. The data, however, could show that vaccines are less effective on the new variant. Mr. Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, disclosed this on Tuesday night at a virtual news conference ahead of the launch of the 2021 Bill and Melinda Gates Annual Letters. Gates said: “South Africa is one of the three countries where the COVID-19 variant is slightly more infectious and might be slightly more fatal. “What we think is that the vaccines will be only slightly less effective, but within two weeks, the data will be out. “If there is a drop in effectiveness, even by 10 per cent, we’ll still
Coronavirus: AstraZeneca defends EU vaccine rollout plan

Coronavirus: AstraZeneca defends EU vaccine rollout plan

NEWS
  The head of AstraZeneca has defended its rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in the EU, amid tension with member states over delays in supply. Pascal Soriot told italian newspaper la repubblica that his team was working "24/7 to fix the very many issues of production of the vaccine". He said production was "basically two months behind where we wanted to be". He also said the EU's late decision to sign contracts had given limited time to sort out hiccups with supply. Mr Soriot, chief executive of the UK-Swedish multinational, said a contract with the UK had been signed three months before the one with the EU, giving more time for glitches to be ironed out. He told La Repubblica that problems in "scaling up" vaccine
Patients Can Take Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Six Weeks Apart, Says WHO

Patients Can Take Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Six Weeks Apart, Says WHO

NEWS
  The World Health Organisation’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation on Tuesday issued a series of recommendations for use of the Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine against COVID-19. The SAGE on Immunisation is charged with advising WHO on overall global policies and strategies, ranging from vaccines and technology, research and development, to delivery of immunization and its linkages with other health interventions. The experts had, last week, discussed the Moderna vaccine, which, like the Pfizer-BioNTech one, uses mRNA technology and is being rolled out in a number of countries. The WHO vaccine advisory group recommends the administration of two doses (100 µg, 0.5 ml each) with an interval of 28 days between doses. However, SAGE recommends at present that
CDC Reviewing New Data that Suggests Coronavirus Variant Identified in UK Could be more Deadly

CDC Reviewing New Data that Suggests Coronavirus Variant Identified in UK Could be more Deadly

NEWS
  Scientists at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are speaking with UK health officials to learn more about British data that suggests a new coronavirus variant could be more deadly. "The CDC has reached out to UK officials and is reviewing their new mortality data associated with variant B.1.1.7," a CDC official told CNN Saturday, using the scientific name for the variant first spotted in the UK in November. A UK report released Friday states there is "a realistic possibility" that the new variant has a higher death rate than other variants. While the data is not conclusive, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "there is some evidence that the new variant ... may be associated with a higher degree of mortality." Variant Found in 22 US states CDC
UK to Offer Genomics Resources for Global COVID-19 Fight

UK to Offer Genomics Resources for Global COVID-19 Fight

NEWS
Britain will offer its genomics expertise to countries lacking resources to identify new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, the government was set to announce Tuesday. “This pandemic has shown that the foundations of so many of the exciting experiences that make life worth living are contingent not just on our health, or the health of our neighbours, but the health of people we’ve never met,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock was to say, according to extracts of his speech released by the government. “When one of us suffers, we all suffer. So we must work to promote health security in every single part of the world,” he was to add. Britain hopes to use its presidency of the G7 this year to push for a “more collaborative and effective global health system” to ensure the in
Four Cases of UK COVID-19 Variant Found in Nigeria –NCDC

Four Cases of UK COVID-19 Variant Found in Nigeria –NCDC

NEWS
The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, on Monday, disclosed that four Nigerians had tested positive for the COVID-19 strain from the United Kingdom. Ihekweazu, who disclosed this at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, in Abuja, stated that those that tested positive included three Nigerians who had travelled out of the country, while one was in-country, adding that it was not surprising to find the new strain in the country given the frequency of travel between the UK and Nigeria. “In the last week, we have had three reports of the UK variant of interest, the B117 strain found in individuals that have left Nigeria to two other countries. “When they were tested, this strain was found in them within a week of returnin
Moderna Vaccine Appears to Work Against Variants

Moderna Vaccine Appears to Work Against Variants

NEWS
Moderna's Covid vaccine appears to work against new, more infectious variants of the pandemic virus found in the UK and South Africa, say scientists from the pharmaceutical company. Early laboratory test suggest antibodies triggered by the vaccine can recognise and fight the new variants. More studies are needed to confirm this is true for people that have been vaccinated. The new variants have been spreading fast in a number of nations. They have undergone changes or mutations that mean they can infect human cells more easily than the original version of coronavirus that started the pandemic. Experts think the UK strain, which emerged in September, may be up to 70% more transmissible.   How worrying are the South Africa and UK Variants?   Current vaccin