African health ministers pledge more joint action against COVID-19

AFRICA – Health ministers in sub-Saharan Africa have pledged to revitalize the COVID-19 fight through ramped-up vaccination and sharing of best practices. Speaking at the 71st session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa, the ministers said that containing the pandemic is key to the continent’s economic recovery. Pierre N’gou Dimba, minister of health, public hygiene and universal health coverage of Cote d’Ivoire, said the continent could still avert the worst outcomes of the pandemic subject to ramped up inoculation, revamping of critical care facilities and adherence…

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Nigeria grants China’s Sinopharm vaccine emergency use approval

NIGERIA – Nigeria has approved China’s Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19, the head of the country’s primary healthcare agency said. Nigeria has been allocated 7.7 million doses of the vaccine through the COVAX scheme aimed at providing vaccines to developing countries. Dr. Faisal Shuaib, head of Nigeria’s National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, did not say when the Sinopharm doses would arrive or be administered. Cases are rising in Nigeria with daily new infections increasing 10-fold from levels seen in July, according to recent tallies. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with some…

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Thailand develops robotic system to optimize vaccine usage

THAILAND – As Thailand struggles with its worst coronavirus outbreak yet, researchers in the country have developed a machine to draw out COVID-19 vaccine doses more efficiently and optimize lower-than-expected supplies. Using a robotic arm, the “AutoVacc” system can draw 12 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in four minutes from a vial, according to researchers at Chulalongkorn University, who made the machine that has been used at the university’s vaccination center since Monday. That is up 20% from the standard 10 doses drawn manually, they said. The machine only works…

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Global populations grappling with alarmingly high cases of hypertension

WORLD – Nearly 1.3 billion people globally suffer from hypertension, a silent killer often driven by obesity that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. Hypertension can be easily diagnosed by monitoring blood pressure, and treated with low-cost drugs, but half of affected people are unaware of their condition which is left untreated, the WHO and Imperial College London said in a joint study published in The Lancet. While hypertension rates have changed little in 30 years, the caseload has…

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Saudi healthtech startup Clinicy secures seven-figure funding round

SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Arabian healthtech platform Clinicy has clinched a “seven-figure” funding round to extend their services and user base. The round, led by Riyadh-headquartered private equity firm Mad’a Investment Company, is the largest pre-series A investment in the kingdom’s healthtech sector this year, although a statement from the company did not disclose how much had been raised. Launched in 2017, Clinicy is a healthtech company which has developed a system to manage daily operations and automate bookings and appointments and its integration has reduced no-show rates by up…

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IVI,Bharat Biotech start global Phase II/III clinical trial of Chikungunya vaccine

INDIA – The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and Bharat Biotech has announced the beginning of Phase II/III clinical trial of Chikungunya vaccine candidate (BBV87) in Costa Rica. IVI is leading the Global Chikungunya vaccine Clinical Development Program (GCCDP) consortium in partnership with Bharat Biotech and funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) with support from the Ind-CEPI mission of the Department of Biotechnology, India. The Global Chikungunya Vaccine Clinical Development Program (GCCDP) seeks to develop and manufacture an affordable Chikungunya vaccine with the aim of achieving WHO prequalification…

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Only 4 African countries have vaccinated 10% of their population

AFRICA – The World Health Organization (WHO) is deeply concerned that African countries are lagging behind the rest of the world in the effort to vaccinate their citizens against COVID-19. While speaking at the 71st session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that globally, 140 countries have reached the target of vaccinating at least 10 percent of their populations. Only four of those countries are in Africa. WHO’s global targets are to support every country to vaccinate at least 10 percent of…

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