Sierra Leone rolls out Ebola vaccine boosters for high risk groups

SIERRA LEONE – Ebola booster dose vaccination has kicked off in Sierra Leone following administration of the prime dose of the Johnson & Johnson Ebola vaccine in May this year. Frontline health workers, practitioners of traditional medicines or traditional healers and commercial motor bike riders who received the first dose are now being given their second jab to maximize their protection against the disease. The target beneficiaries have been identified as high-risk groups and selected for preventive vaccination to protect them in the event there comes a cross border transmission…

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Mali receives medical aid to bolster pandemic mitigation efforts from AFDB, UNHCR

MALI – The African Development Bank and the United Nations Agency for Refugees in Mali (UNHCR) have handed over three medical ambulances and several equipment to the government of Mali to help it cope with the Covid-19 pandemic raging in the country since March 2020. The donation, worth nearly two million units of account (US$ 2.85 million) received by the Minister of Public Health of Mali, Dr Diéminatou Sangaré, also includes medical equipment, drugs, reagents and laboratory equipment. This donation, which is part of the implementation of the Support Project…

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Zydus Cadila gets USFDA nod for arthritis drug with 180-days exclusivity

INDIA – Drug firm Zydus Cadila has received final approval from the US health regulator to market Tofacitinib extended-release tablets, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, in the American market. The company said it has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for the drug in 11 mg and 22 mg strengths. Zydus was the first abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) filer on Tofacitinib extended-release tablets 22 mg and thus holds 180-day exclusivity on this strength, the company said in a statement. Arthritis, or joint disease, is inflammation…

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Aurobindo Pharma, Cadila, 3 others in race to acquire Sterling Biotech

INDIA – Aurobindo Pharma, Cadila Healthcare, UPL and two other companies are in the fray to acquire bankrupt Sterling Biotech Ltd. through the liquidation process. The other two companies in the race are ACG Associated Capsules and Gland Celsus Bio Chemicals. Last month, the liquidator had invited bids for the liquidation process of Sterling Biotech to sell it as a going concern at a reserve price of Rs 548.46 crore. Lovkesh Batra, a member of the Mamta Binani-led liquidation team told media that the shortlist of entities looking to acquire…

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UK to begin offering COVID antibody testing to general public for first time

BRITAIN – The United Kingdom has announced it will begin offering COVID-19 antibody testing to the general public in the coming week for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government’s new programme is intended to produce data on antibody protections for people following infection by different coronavirus variants, according to details of the programme published by multiple media outlets. From Tuesday, anyone aged 18 or over in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, will be able to opt in to the programme when receiving a…

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World Health Organization calls for experts to join pathogens advisory group

AFRICA – WHO has called upon international experts to serve on a new advisory group designed to monitor and trace the origins of emerging and reemerging pathogens with “pandemic potential,” including the origins of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The UN health agency launched a call for nominations of experts across a wide range of fields, including virology, veterinary medicine and laboratory safety and security. In a statement on its website, the WHO cites dangerous diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome, Lassa fever and the hemorrhagic fever diseases Marburg…

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Polish Redemptoris Missio to build new health facilities in Africa

AFRICA – Redemptoris Missio, a humanitarian aid foundation in Poznan, western Poland, has committed to establish and commercialize top standard healthcare facilities across Africa. The foundation will commit approximately PLN 1.5 million (EUR 327,000) gained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to put up these facilities in three African countries; Tanzania, Kenya and Senegal. Justyna Janiec-Palczewska, the director of Redemptoris Missio, has said the organization will be renovating and equipping the Centre for Malnourished Children in Velingara, Senegal, expand the health centre in Kithatu, Kenya, and build and equip a…

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Kenya receives close to one million Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses

KENYA – Kenya has received 880,460 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the first time that Moderna vaccines have been received in Kenya and widens the portfolio of COVID-19 vaccines available for the national vaccination rollout. The vaccines, which form the first of two shipments totaling 1.76 million doses, were donated by the United States Government via the COVAX facility and transported by UNICEF. “This donation builds on the United States partnership with the Government of Kenya in response to COVID-19. These life-saving vaccines will fill an important need at…

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