A boost for the NHS as the UK government announces a US$50.3m investment on AI research

UK – The UK government has announced a hefty £36bn funding boost for artificial intelligence (AI) research technologies in a bid to help the National Health System (NHS) transform the quality of healthcare. Funding will go toward the winners of the second wave of the NHS AI Lab’s AI in Health and Care Award. The AI award package also includes funding to support the research, development and testing of early phase, of promising ideas which could be used by the NHS in the future. Since the first round of the…

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CureVac’s vaccine proves to have a 47% efficacy rating after its preliminary results

EUROPE – The German company CureVac provided disappointing preliminary results from a clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine, dimming hopes that it could help fill the world’s current greatest need. The trial, which included 40,000 volunteers in Latin America and Europe, estimated that CureVac’s mRNA vaccine had an efficacy of just 47 percent, among the lowest reported so far from any COVID-19 vaccine maker. Results released were based on data from 135 volunteers who got sick with COVID-19 as an independent panel compared the number of sick people who had…

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1MG now valued at US$450m after Tata group buys 51% of its stake

INDIA – IMG, an e-pharmacy retailer incorporated in 2015 that also offers teleconsultation services and operates three diagnostics labs is now worth US$450million after Tata group buys 51% of its stake to become a majority shareholder. Tata group, is an Indian public multinational conglomerate manufacturer of automobiles, airplanes and with previous affiliation to the pharma industry bought stakes worth US$230million. The e-pharmacy venture, 1MG was valued at US$242 million and had already raised US$156 million worth of capital prior to Tata group’s mega investment with a recorded a loss of…

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New program reveals high burden of undiagnosed or poorly controlled diseases in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA – A comprehensive health-screening program in rural South Africa has found a high burden of undiagnosed or poorly controlled non-communicable diseases, according to a study by the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI). Researchers have found that four out of five women over the age of 30 are living with a chronic health condition, and that the HIV-negative population and older people bare the higher burden of undiagnosed or poorly controlled non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. The study which was co-led by Emily Wong, M.D., a resident…

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Bayer’s Astepro approved for over the counter use in the US

US – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Bayer’s steroid-free antihistamine nasal spray Astepro for over-the-counter use. Astepro becomes the first and only OTC steroid-free antihistamine nasal spray available in the US for adults and children aged six years and older. Currently, OTC allergy medications is classified into three major classes which include antihistamines, intranasal steroids and mast cell stabilizers. Bayer, a German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company had astepro previously approved for prescription use in 2008. Following the approval by the FDA, Astepro will be…

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Revital Healthcare EPZ Ltd signs indenture with Tanzania to supply medical equipment

KENYA – Revital Healthcare, a medical disposable products manufacturing company in Kilifi Kenya, has received an order to supply 11 million Covid-19 vaccine syringes to Tanzania. Revital Healthcare EPZ is the only manufacturer of the COVID-19 test kits in Africa and one of the 66 manufacturers in the world which is USFDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) certified. This comes amid improved relations between Kenya and Tanzania since President Samia Suluhu took over leadership. According to Revital Healthcare sales and market product development director, Roneek Vora, the Tanzanian market…

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WHO donates provisions in pledge to support epidemiologic preparedness in Liberia

LIBERIA – The World Health Organization (WHO) has delivered a huge consignment of Infection Prevention Control (IPC) supplies and laboratory diagnostic kits to Liberia to strengthen the response to COVID-19 and improve preparedness to EVD. The supplies donated included diagnostic kits for COVID-19 and supplies for IPC in health facilities. This is a subsequent donation following lifesaving medicines and laboratory supplies for testing COVID-19 and Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) donated to the government of Liberia by the WHO in March this year. The supplies included Praziquantel tablets to treat nearly…

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WHO declares Guinea Ebola free months after a second outbreak was reported

GUINEA – The Ebola outbreak that emerged in Guinea in mid-February has been declared over. This was the first time the disease resurfaced in the country since the deadly outbreak in West Africa that ended in 2016. Guinean health authorities declared the outbreak on 14 February 2021 after three cases were detected in a rural community in the southern prefecture, the same region where the 2014–2016 outbreak first emerged before spreading into neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone and beyond. A total of 16 confirmed and seven probable cases were reported…

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Islamic Development Bank fruitfully cements alliance to fight avoidable blindness in Djibouti

DJIBOUTI – The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Alliance to Fight Avoidable Blindness (AFAB), and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) have successfully executed cataract surgery campaigns in the city of Djibouti and its surrounding rural localities. This has been accomplished in their second phase of efforts to fight avoidable blindness which has seen 11,709 patients receive vision screening with 1,032 cataract treatment surgeries conducted, in addition to providing post-surgical monitoring and visits to patients in Djibouti. “My sincere thanks to the Islamic Development Bank and the Azerbaijan International…

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As coronavirus cases rise, Africa faces immense threat from rise of deadlier variants

AFRICA – African Union Member States have reported 5,190,181 COVID-19 cases, 137,350 deaths and 4,611,132 recoveries according to the most recent report. According to the Africa CDC, new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 are rapidly spreading across continents and multiple variants are emerging in Africa, some deadlier, as the continent slips into a third wave. The World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned about the slowdown in vaccination, with 47 of Africa’s 54 countries at the risk of missing the September target of vaccinating 10 percent of their population, unless 225 million…

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