India resumes surplus vaccine exports after meeting domestic demand

INDIA – After a seven-month break, India, one of the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers, has resumed bilateral vaccine exports after two-thirds of its adult population has received their first dose. Over the last week, Delhi has exported approximately four million doses of domestically manufactured vaccines to Iran, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Myanmar – all developing countries suffering from vaccine shortages. Last month, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced that India will resume the supplies abroad, an it has rolled out the vaccine export program by giving preference to the neighbouring…

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WHO “deeply concerned” over Emergency Use Listing vaccines row

UNITED NATIONS – The World Health Organization has state that it is “deeply concerned” that Covid-19 vaccines, which have proven to be effective and have been approved by the global health body for emergency use, are not being recognized in all countries. Addressing a press briefing, Dr Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the organisation again calls on “all countries to ensure the recognition of vaccines proven to be efficacious and safe and certainly that meet WHO Emergency Use Listing criteria.” On the…

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AstraZeneca delivers first batch of Covid-19 in Antarctica

ANTARCTICA – The AstraZeneca Covid vaccine has finally reached the Antarctic, nine months after it was introduced. This week, it was flown in to immunize the 23 staff members who have been keeping the British Rothera research station operational throughout the polar winter. The AZ vaccine was delivered to Rothera via a nearly 10,000-mile journey that began with an RAF Voyager flight from Brize Norton and included stops in Senegal and the Falkland Islands. All the while, the doses had to be kept in a special transport container at the…

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Astrazeneca inks deal with Royal Academy of Engineering to support health tech entrepreneurs

SOUTH AFRICA – AstraZeneca and the Royal Academy of Engineering have entered into a partnership to establish connections between African healthcare innovators and AstraZeneca’s A Catalyst Network of more than 20 global health innovation hubs. This partnership seeks to drive the development of engineering solutions that have the potential to address local challenges with a focus on health tech.  As part of its commitment to building international partnerships and solving global challenges, in 2014 the Academy founded The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation (https://bit.ly/3Ah0FC8), an annual award that grants crucial…

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World Bank approves US$ 400 million credit for Nigeria to fight COVID-19

NIGERIA – The World Bank has approved US $400 million credit for Nigeria, to help fund COVID-19 vaccines for its citizens. The fund, according to the World Bank, is intended to provide upfront funding for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine acquisition and deployment within the country, and it will be implemented as part of the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project. The additional funding from the International Development Association (IDA) will cover the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine across the country, and will enable Nigeria to vaccinate 51 percent or…

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AstraZeneca reaches settlement with EU on COVID-19 vaccine delivery

EUROPE – AstraZeneca and the European Commission have reached a settlement on the delivery of pending COVID-19 vaccine doses by the drug maker, ending a row about shortages that had weighed on the company and the region’s vaccination campaign. The dispute plunged the European Union into crisis earlier this year as states, under pressure to speed up vaccinations, scrambled for shots. It also caused a public relations crisis for AstraZeneca, which is led by Frenchman Pascal Soriot. Brussels has since reduced its reliance on the Anglo-Swedish drug maker, with vaccine…

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GlaxoSmithKline, SK bioscience start final trial of COVID-19 jab

BRITAIN – British drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline and South Korean peer SK bioscience have announced the commencement of final stage trials of a Covid-19 jab after positive early results. The vaccine is facing a Phase 3 clinical trial to assess its safety and immunogenicity when compared with AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, the two companies said in a joint statement. GSK is still trailing in the wake of Anglo-Swedish rival AstraZeneca, which rapidly developed a successful jab alongside Oxford University despite having little prior experience in vaccine development. The new jab combines SK…

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France to donate 10 million vaccines to Africa over three months

AFRICA – France has committed to provide the African continent with 10 million doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines over the next three months following a new partnership between France and the African Union. The vaccines will be allocated and distributed in the framework of the AU’s African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and the partnership for equitable vaccine rollout known as Covax, according to a statement issued by the Elysée palace. “The Covid-19 pandemic can only be overcome through intense cooperation,” Macron said in the statement, emphasising France’s “solid partnership”…

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AstraZeneca, PSK launch digital solution for chronic disease management

KENYA – The Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) in collaboration with AstraZeneca has launched a pharmacy-led end-to-end digitally integrated patient solution for chronic disease management dubbed ‘Kamba Ya Shanga’. The Kamba Ya Shanga initiative is a pharmacist-led disease management and referral programme aimed at improving patient outcomes for chronic conditions, connecting all key healthcare players along the patient’s disease management journey. Through the programme patients will be uniquely identified by the pharmacist, have their chronic disease treatment and medication monitored, receive support that ensures optimal treatment and correct use of…

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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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