The Swiss confederation and WHO launch global BioHub for pathogen analysis, sharing and storage

SWITZERLAND – Switzerland has signed a memorandum of understanding with WHO to launch the first WHO BioHUB in Spiez, Switzerland. The facility, which is part of the WHO BioHub System announced in November 2020, will help in safe reception, sequencing, storage, and preparation of biological materials for distribution to other laboratories, so as to facilitate global preparedness against these pathogens. Pathogens are currently shared bilaterally between countries: A process that can be sluggish and deny the benefits to some. Member states will now be able to share biological material with…

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Corrupt deals surrounding COVID-19 funds weigh down mitigation efforts in Africa

AFRICA – Africa has reported continued theft of COVID-19 response funds. Rampant corruption and theft of cash and other incentives meant to relieve impacts of the disease has been reported in several African countries. In Malawi, 64 people were arrested in April in connection with misuse of Covid-19 funds. Recently, the president, Chakwera Lazarus,  fired the country’s Labour Minister who was alleged to have taken US$760 from the Covid-19 funds for his personal allowance, in connection to mismanagement of funds. About US$1.3 million have been reported to have been embezzled…

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Moderna says its COVID vaccine is safe and effective in adolescents aged 12 to 17

U.S – Leading pharmaceutical manufacturer Moderna says that clinical trials have proved its COVID shot 100 percent effective and safe for use among teenagers. The company seeks to acquire FDA approval before summer to administer the vaccine. It would be the second Covid-19 vaccine available for the age group if it is authorized for use, in addition to the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said that the firm is glad the mRNA-1273 was highly effective at preventing covid amongst adolescents, “we remain committed to doing our part to help…

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Kenya’s Metropolitan Hospital sets up new oxygen unit to meet high demand

KENYA – The Metropolitan Hospital, one of the leading hospitals in Kenya, has put up an oxygen unit that has capacity to produce about 600 litres of oxygen gas per minute. According to the hospital CEO Kanyenje Gakombe, the plant will help them be self-sufficient rather than being dependent on suppliers. The management at the hospital recounts of a period in which the supply of oxygen, which is commonly taken for granted, had dwindled to a low of only 6 hours of reserve, “a very, very worrying situation”. Oxygen consists…

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New research indicates masks are effective in mitigating spread of COVID-19

GERMANY- A research conducted by Chinese and German researchers has showed that masks are effective against spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus(severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), the agent that causes corona virus disease 2019. The team, led by Hang Su of Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz has established that the efficacy of masks against the virus is dependent on the viral load in a given environment. In most environments, however, it was found that the abundance of the virus is low. Therefore, surgical masks which exhibit a variable range…

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Africa Healthcare Network secures US$5m loan from DFC

EAST AFRICA – US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has announced the first disbursement of a US$5 million direct loan to Africa Healthcare Network (AHN), the largest operator of dialysis centers in East Africa. The project is part of DFC’s comprehensive COVID-19 Response through which the agency is mitigating the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and DFC’s Global Health and Prosperity Initiative, under which the agency is working to strengthen global health systems. “DFC continues to support global health and sustainable economic growth in developing countries during the COVID-19…

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