The World Health Organization (WHO) has reiterated its call on manufacturing companies and countries to waive COVID-19 vaccine patent rules to enable the jabs to be produced more widely in countries with low vaccination rates.
W.H.O. director general Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus expressed disappointment that delegates had so far been reluctant to back the proposal at the World Trade Organization put forward by South Africa and India.
The world health body has also said it needs between 35 billion to 45 billion dollars to fund its Covax vaccination programme for low income countries next year.
Meanwhile, American drug firm Moderna has pledged half a billion doses of its vaccine to Covax over this year and next year.
India Tops 24 Million COVID-19 Cases As New Variant Spreads Across Globe
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised an alarm over the rapid spread of the highly transmissible coronavirus mutant first detected in the country as the official tally of infections crossed 24 million, and 4,000 persons died for the third straight day.
Jairo Mendez, a World Health Organization infectious diseases expert said the Indian B.1.617 variant of the virus has been found in cases in eight countries of the Americas, including Canada and the United States.
Mendez said “These variants have a greater capacity for transmission, but so far we have not found any collateral consequences” adding that “the only worry is that they spread faster.”
People infected by the variant included travellers in Panama and Argentina who had arrived from India or Europe. In the Caribbean, cases of the Indian variant have been detected in Aruba, Dutch St Maarten and the French department of Guadeloupe.
The mutant strain has also been detected in Britain, as well as in Singapore.
According to health ministry data, India recorded 4,000 deaths and 343,144 infections in the last 24 hours.
Public Health England said the total number of confirmed cases of the variant had more than doubled in the past week to 1,313 across the United Kingdom.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said “We are anxious about it – it has been spreading,” adding that there would be meetings to discuss what to do. “We’re ruling nothing out.”
WATCH: WTO Considers COVID-19 Vaccine Patents Rights
DR Congo Declares End Of Ebola Outbreak That Killed Six
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has announced the end of the latest outbreak of Ebola that has killed six persons after a resurgence in the country three months ago.
On Monday, the DRC declared the end of the 12th epidemic of Ebola virus disease that infected 12 persons and killed six of them in Butembo in the eastern province of North Kivu.
The outbreak was contained using Merck’s Ebola vaccine given to more than sixteen hundred of the patients and contacts.
The World Health Organization has noted the announcement in a tweet today.
The cases were genetically linked to the 2018-20 Ebola epidemic that killed more than 2,200 people, the second-highest toll recorded in the disease’s history.
The flare-up emerged on Feb. 3. In the city of Butembo with the death of a woman whose husband had contracted the virus in the previous outbreak.
Ebola causes fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea and spreads among humans through bodily fluids.
Health minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani said in a statement “I am pleased to solemnly declare the end of the 12th epidemic of Ebola virus disease in North Kivu province.
Mbungani “despite the security context and the COVID-19 pandemic, the rapidity and efficiency of the response put in place by the government and its partners made it possible to defeat this pandemic in less than 3 months.
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