By Ahmed Rahma
A Chinese biopharmaceutical company, Sinovac Biotech Ltd, which developed the controversial COVID-19 vaccine, CoronaVac, has defended the efficacy of the drug after confusing data.
The producer of the jab, which has been purchased by not less than 17 countries, said the vaccine was more effective in preventing the disease if the two-dose regime is administered over a longer period of time. The CoronaVac has been rolled out in Indonesia, Brazil and others despite inconsistent data readouts.
In a written response to Bloomberg, Sinovac said nearly 1,400 of 13,000 people who took part in clinical trials of CoronaVac received their doses three weeks apart, while most of the volunteers in the Brazil-based trials got the second jab two weeks after the first.
The protection rate for the smaller group was nearly 20 percentage points higher than the 50.4 per cent rate observed in the majority, the vaccine’s producer said.
The comments come after CoronaVac delivered vastly different efficacy rates in four clinical trial sites, fueling concerns over whether the vaccine that’s key to the inoculation campaigns of some of the world’s COVID-19 hotspots will be effective in stemming outbreaks.
However, more countries announced they would purchase CoronaVac or start mass inoculations using the Chinese drug, as senior officials of various countries stressed the safety of the vaccine despite some Western media questioning their efficacy and safety.
On Wednesday, the Health Minister of Turkey, Fahrettin Koca received the first dose of the CoronaVac vaccine live on television, becoming the first person in Turkey to receive the vaccine.
Afterwards, the country agreed to purchase 50 million doses of the jab and has received delivery of an initial 3 million doses.
Also, Indonesian President, Joko Widodo received the first dose of CoronaVac on Wednesday live on television.
According to the Indonesian Ambassador to China, Djauhari Oratmangun, in an interview with Global Times, Indonesia already began mass vaccinations on Wednesday.
Speaking, Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, praised Chinese-made vaccines, saying they are as good as the shots developed by the Americans and the Europeans.
Lagos to Host Conference on Biosecurity, One Health
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
The Lagos State Government has announced the plan to hold the seventh Annual African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity as part of efforts to ensure that the Africa continent braces up for the challenges posed by emerging infectious diseases and biosecurity threats.
The conference is in partnership with Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET) and is scheduled to hold both virtually and physically at the Civic Centre at Lagos from Wednesday, October 27 to Friday, October 29, 2021, with the theme Universal Approach to Addressing Biosecurity Threats – Genomic Intelligence and Vaccines.
Interested participants have been advised to visit the GET website to register and attend the hybrid conference.
According to the state Commissioner for Health, Mr Akin Abayomi, the conference is seventh in the series of conferences organised by GET, in partnership with governments around West Africa and the African continent, to help develop a biosecurity road map and to increase resilience in dealing with pathogens of high consequence.
Mr Abayomi expressed the need to continually focus on the key importance of the African response in combating emerging infectious diseases.
He stated that the need for various treatment strategies and preparedness against future biosecurity threats necessitated the need for the conference.
“Lagos has teamed up once again this year with GET to organise the seventh African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity. We have a very important thematic initiative this year to address the universal approach to biosecurity threats using genomic intelligence and vaccine,” the commissioner noted.
He further explained that genomic intelligence is the ability to sequence a pathogen that is causing an outbreak, adding that COVID-19 is the focus of attention for the conference.
As stated by him, genomic intelligence should be vigorous, with significant measures taken to mitigate the potency of current and future epidemics as well as keeping up with effective vaccine production.
Mr Abayomi further explained that the conference’s thematic areas cover Vaccine Strategy, Genome Research, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Biosecurity and Bio-threat, Biobanking Infrastructure, Climate change and Cultural Anthropological Social and Economic Impact of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
He also advocated various treatment strategies and preparedness against future biosecurity threats as he stated the key importance of the African response in combating Emerging Infectious Diseases,
He stated that Lagos is prepared to welcome participants, policymakers, researchers, scientists and other interested persons to the conference, adding that the concept of One Health is necessary for ensuring biosecurity and all-around health.
In his remarks, the Chief Operating Officer of GET Consortium, Mr Ayodotun Bobadoye, noted that participants at the conference will include policymakers, scientists, researchers, healthcare professionals, experts in infectious disease management, professionals from one health field, development partners, community and opinion leaders amongst others from within and outside the continent.
Mr Bobadoye further noted that resolutions at the conference will help chart a positive course for strategic response against Biosecurity threats in Africa and by extension the world.
NCS Honours LASUTH for Excellence in Cardiovascular Care
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) has been announced as the winner of the Excellence in Cardiovascular Care Award.
This award was given to LAUSTH on the premises the hospital is renowned for its contribution to the growth and development of cardiovascular medicine and surgery in the country.
The respected health institution grabbed this award at the 50th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Scientific Conference of the Nigeria Cardiac Society (NCS) held in Lagos recently.
LASUTH is one of the two tertiary hospitals carrying out open-heart surgery in Nigeria. It has continued to make giant strides in improving the lives of the citizens of Lagos State and its environs.
The soon to be quaternary hospital has over the years provided high-quality healthcare to Lagosians using state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge technology to solve common and emerging health problems.
LASUTH heart surgeons have performed some of the most advanced procedures in the medical field. The hospital has experienced professionals who specialize in open-heart surgeries that effectively treat heart conditions while minimizing patients’ recovery time and maximizing the best possible outcomes.
This made the NCS during the recently concluded Scientific Conference honour the hospital for her feats and outstanding achievement in tackling cardiovascular diseases through a consistent open-heart surgery with great success.
It was learned that these surgical feats would not have been possible without the expertise of the medical professionals at the LASUTH Cardio-Thoracic Surgery Unit (CTSU) led by Dr Bode Falase, a cardiac surgeon and ably supported by the management of the hospital, under the leadership of the Chief Medical Director, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo.
In a few weeks, LASUTH will be the only government-owned hospital with a cardiac catheterization laboratory (Cathlab). This is a laboratory with special imaging equipment used for the visualization of the arteries and checking blood flow to and from the heart.
LASUTH said one of the advantages of using its facility for cardiovascular issues is that patients would be exceptionally cared for at a reduced cost while also reducing medical tourism.
FG Earmarks N711.3bn for Health Sector in 2022 Budget
By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
The Federal Government of Nigeria has said it is prioritising the country’s health sector with the injection of N711.3 billion in the 2022 Appropriation Bill forwarded to the National Assembly.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, made this disclosure while speaking at a public presentation and breakdown of the 2022 budget in Abuja on Friday.
This follows the presentation of the budget estimates of N16.39 trillion for the 2022 fiscal year titled Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability by President Muhammadu Buhari to the parliament on Thursday.
According to the Minister, the proposed allocation of funds for the health sector will cater for its ministries, departments, and agencies, capital and recurrent, including hazard allowances for medical personnel.
She also noted that the administration has provided the sum of N54.9 million for the Gavi Immunization vaccine.
“This also includes counterpart funding for donors supported programs, and including global funding. We also provided N54.1 billion transfer to the basic health care provision funds,” she added.
Speaking on other critical sectors, the Minister disclosed that, “A total of N2.4 trillion has been allocated for the defence and security sector. This is strictly for the military, police, and intelligence services as well as the paramilitary services.
“We also made provision of N1.5 trillion for infrastructure, this is representing 8.1 per cent of the budget and includes provisions for power works and housing, transport, water resources, and aviation,” Mrs Ahmed disclosed.
She informed the public that 5.3 per cent of the 2022 budget has been allocated to the Social Development Sector of the country’s economy with the sum of N8.6 billion.
“This amount is provided for the social investment program as well as the new national collective reduction and growth strategy program,” she explained.
According to Mrs Ahmed, the national budget, given its planned allocations, is expected to further accelerate the growth of the Nigerian economy.
“We are optimistic at attaining more optimistic growth as we focus on achieving our objectives on mass job creation and lifting millions of Nigerians out for poverty.
“However, revenue currently remains our main physical challenge, and we are putting all efforts to make sure that specific revenue growth initiatives targets are met,” she added.
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