The World Health Organization (WHO) says laboratory capacity to test for the coronavirus is now available throughout Africa.
W.H.O. Head Tedros Ghebreyesus says only a dozen African countries had the ability to test at the beginning of the pandemic.
He says all African countries have now developed laboratory capacity to test for the coronavirus. He warned that the number of virus cases was now increasing quickly and more protective equipment and laboratory tests were urgently needed.
More than 320,000 covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Africa. The pandemic has also claimed eighty-five hundred lives on the continent.
Head of Africa Centres for Disease Control, John Nkengasong has called on countries on the continent to secure sufficient vaccine supplies to avoid Africa being left out in the global vaccine race.
German-Chinese Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Begins In China
As laboratories around the world are racing to find a vaccine to curb COVID-19, a German and a Chinese pharmaceutical companies, BioNTech and Fosun Pharma have on Wednesday said clinical trials on humans have begun in China for a potential coronavirus vaccine.
The companies said in a statement Seventy-two participants have already received their first dose following approval for the phase one trial from Chinese regulatory authorities.
The vaccine candidate, known as BNT162b1, is one of four based on BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA technology.
According to reports, another, BNT162b2, is being evaluated in a global phase three trial conducted by BioNTech and US giant Pfizer which started on July 27.
The phase one trial in China involves 144 participants who will receive two doses 21 days apart. Those aged 18-55 will be the first to take part, followed by older people
Globally, Coronavirus has claimed more than 700,000 lives and upended the livelihoods of millions.
As of Wednesday, more than 18.55 million persons around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus and more than 11.1 million have recovered.
Travel Bans Cannot Be Indefinite, Countries Must Fight Virus – WHO
The World Health Organization has on Monday urged countries to do more to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus within their borders saying that bans on international travel cannot stay in place indefinitely.
Many countries have reimpose some travel restrictions in recent days due to a surge in infections.
WHO Emergencies Programme head Mike Ryan said travel bans were not sustainable.
“It is going to be almost impossible for individual countries to keep their borders shut for the foreseeable future. Economies have to open up, people have to work, trade has to resume,” he said.
The UN’s health agency director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a virtual news briefing that only with strict adherence to health measures, from wearing masks to avoiding crowds, would the world manage to beat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ghebreyesus said “where these measures are followed, cases go down. Where they are not, cases go up,” he added, praising Canada, China, Germany and South Korea for controlling outbreaks.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University nearly 16.5 million persons globally have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, some 9.6 million patients have recovered, and more than 654,000 have died.
Brazilian Study Finds Hydroxychloroquine Ineffective
The hydroxychloroquine touted by United States president Donald Trump and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro to treat coronavirus has again been found to be ineffective in the treatment of the virus after a large study in Brazil.
Bolsonaro’s government in May had recommended that hospitals prescribe the drug to coronavirus patients. The president himself has said he is taking it after testing positive for Covid-19 in early July.
In a clinical study conducted on 667 patients with mild to moderate symptoms in 55 hospitals in Brazil and published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that the drug does not effectively treat Covid-19 and could have damaging side effects.
The paper’s authors cautioned the trial had its limitations, they explained further that “the trial cannot definitively rule out either a substantial benefit of the trial drugs or a substantial harm”.
Earlier this year, hydroxychloroquine made headlines when it was hoped the malaria drug could also help people sick with Covid-19.
But after a large trial at Oxford University in June found hydroxychloroquine to be ineffective, the World Health Organization halted its own studies.
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