South Africa gets major investment to treat Covid-19, TB, cancer, HIV

SOUTH AFRICA – United States-based multinational conglomerate NantWorks has entered into an agreement with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) for the transfer of manufacturing technology for Covid-19 and cancer vaccines and next-generation cell-based immunotherapies. This is a major boost to the country’s healthcare system in its efforts to treat infectious diseases such as cancer, HIV, tuberculosis and, more recently, Covid-19. As of 2019, South Africa had 7.5 million people living with HIV, 200,000 new HIV infections and 72,000 AIDS-related…

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Resistance to front-line malaria drugs confirmed in Africa

AFRICA – Scientists have confirmed that malaria parasites in Africa have developed resistance to a key family of drugs used to protect against them. “We’ve all been expecting and dreading this for quite some time,” says Leann Tilley, a biochemist at the University of Melbourne in Australia, who researches the molecular basis of antimalarial resistance. Signs of drug resistance have long been present in Africa: for instance, in Rwanda between 2012 and 2015, scientists detected the existence of gene mutations associated with resistance in malaria parasites. A new study, published…

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Deadly African swine flu creeps into Tripura amid Covid-19 pandemic

INDIA – Despite the fact that the Northeast is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, fresh outbreaks of the African Swine Flu has been reported in the district of Tripura, where a large number of pigs have died in the government farm in Kachanpur. ` This deadly outbreak comes shortly after the swine flu ravished pigs in the neighboring Mizoram state. Mizoram has been battling both COVID-19 pandemic and African swine fever since March this year, which has so far killed 28,000 pigs in all the state’s 11 districts making the…

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USA grants Mozambique government US$800,000 to further Malaria research

MOZAMBIQUE – The U.S. Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided an US$800,000 grant to the Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça (CISM) for malaria and maternal and child health research. The grant will fund studies on the effectiveness of the pneumococcal vaccine and anti-malaria medicines and treatments. USAID, CISM and the Mozambican Ministry of Health (MISAU) collaborated to identify these topics as critical to improving malaria and maternal and child health care in Mozambique. USAID support will allow CISM to gather the most…

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CONSA unveils Sickle Cell screening facility for newborns in Liberia

LIBERIA – The Ministry of health in Liberia in collaboration with the Consortium on Newborn Screening in Africa (CONSA) have launched a new facility for infant Sickle Cell Disease screening at the country’s leading hospital, John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC). The Liberian Health Ministry also admonished medical doctors, nurses, as well as health practitioners to buff efforts in providing health and social counselling for patients of sickle cell for societal integration. Sickle cell disease is an inherited red blood cell disorder that can cause debilitating pain and lead to…

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Guinea declares end of Marburg virus disease outbreak

GUINEA – Having recorded zero cases of Marburg disease in the past 42 days, Guinea has declared the end of a Marburg virus outbreak announced on August 9th. The decision is informed by the Marburg monitoring protocol which dictates two incubation periods, or the time between infection and the onset of symptoms to last at least 42 days to be cleared for safety. Guinea’s index patient, and the only patient to date, marked the first time the disease emerged in the country and in West Africa. Marburg, a highly infectious…

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Nigeria cholera outbreak claims more lives as death toll tops 2,300

NIGERIA – Nigeria is seeing one of its worst cholera outbreaks in years, with more than 2,300 people dying from suspected cases as Africa’s most populous country struggles to deal with multiple disease outbreaks. This year’s cholera outbreak, with a higher case fatality rate than the previous four years, is worsened by what many consider to be a bigger priority for state governments: the COVID-19 pandemic. Nigeria faces a resurgence of cases driven by the Delta variant, and less than 1% of the population has been fully vaccinated. At least…

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J&J Ebola vaccine shows promising results in latest study

USA – Johnson & Johnson has announced that its Ebola vaccine regimen has demonstrated remarkable antibody immune responses in adults and children, citing data published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. According to the report, the two-dose regimen was well-tolerated and induced antibody responses to the Zaire ebolavirus species, 21 days after the second dose in 98 per cent of all participants. The regimen, Zabdeno and Mvabea, generated immune responses that persisted in adults for at least two years. “These peer-reviewed data support the prophylactic use of the Johnson &…

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Gavi initiative revolutionizes yellow fever diagnostics capacity across Africa

AFRICA – Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, together with WHO, UNICEF, CDC, the Institut Pasteur Dakar, Centre Pasteur Cameroon, and the Uganda Virus Research Institute has funded implementation of the Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) strategy that has bolstered yellow fever diagnostic capacity across Africa. The program that was launched in 2018 has revolutionized diagnostics on the continent, one of the programme’s coordinating agencies, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said. During inception, the Gavi Board approved US$ 8.2 million in funding for yellow fever diagnostic equipment and supplies, as well as US$…

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Zalgen Labs announces contract with CEPI for Lassa Fever study in West Africa

NIGERIA – Zalgen Labs has inked a three-year contract with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to provide its antibody testing kits for a study to assess the incidence of Lassa fever infections in West Africa. Under the terms of the contract, Zalgen will supply its Lassa fever antibody testing kits (ReLASV Pan-Lassa NP IgG ELISA) to CEPI’s Enable study partners in Benin, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, to test up to 7,000 participants for Lassa fever antibodies, specifically the anti-Lassa virus nucleoprotein human immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies.…

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