Ghana gets third public health emergency operations center

GHANA – The Ghana Health Service, in collaboration with the United States’ Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, has commissioned the third Public Health Emergency Operations Center in Ghana. The Center will strengthen the public sector to effectively respond to health emergencies. Speaking at the commissioning of the facility, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service revealed the facility will serve as a footprint for technical coordination of the health emergencies and response structure. Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said the health center will also serve as a source of event-specific data…

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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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India’s vaccine giant invests US $68 million to gain 3.9% stake in UK’s Oxford Biomedica

INDIA – The Serum Institute of India (SII) is set to invest more than US $68.2 million in Oxford Biomedica plc, a biotech group based in the United Kingdom, to fund construction of a facility that will manufacture COVID-19 vaccines. The British biotech firm has announced an investment from world’s largest Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine manufacturer by volume. The biotech company anticipates receiving an investment from SII of just over US $68 million, which will be used to fund the development of Oxbox, its 84,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Oxford.…

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HOPE Consortium, Astral Aviation partner to enhance vaccine distribution solutions in Africa

KENYA – The HOPE Consortium has partnered with Kenya-based cargo airline, Astral Aviation, to offer vaccine distribution solutions to Africa. The partnership highlights the HOPE Consortium’s efforts in reinforcing partnerships that focus on fighting the COVID-19 global pandemic, as well as fulfilling the organisation’s mission as a global logistics facilitator, by aiding in vaccine delivery. As part of the agreement, both entities will focus on intra-African cooperation to enhance vaccine distribution within the African continent. The HOPE Consortium will utilise Astral Aviation’s comprehensive network, technologies, and market expertise, to support…

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EU launches new authority to prepare for future health crisis

BELGIUM – The European Union has set up a new authority to prevent and rapidly respond to health emergencies based on the lessons learned from the coronavirus crisis. About 30 billion euros ($35.3 billion) has been commissioned to the body, which is expected to coordinate expenditure in preparation for a future pandemic. The health crisis body dubbed, “The European Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority” (HERA), will detect health crises and other potential threats for the healthcare system by gathering information and developing forecasts. If a new health crisis struck,…

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Older and high-risk populations can now receive Pfizer vaccine booster dose, FDA says

USA – People above 65 years and adults at high risk of severe COVID-19 infection are now eligible to receive Pfizer/BioNTech’s booster dose vaccine, following emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The decision paves the way for millions of people who received their second dose of the vaccine at least six months ago to receive booster shots as soon as they can. This emergency use authorization was based on the totality of scientific evidence shared by the companies and reviewed by the FDA’s Vaccines and Related…

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Uganda launches national guidelines for integrated diseases surveillance and response

UGANDA – Uganda has launched the Third Edition of the National Guidelines for Integrated Diseases Surveillance and Response (IDSR). The edition highlights new methods of disease detection, reporting, and provision of real-time surveillance data using new technologies and platforms. The platforms include event-based disease surveillance, community-based surveillance, one health approach, cross-border surveillance, and electronic IDSR to improve disease surveillance in Uganda at all levels. State Minister of Health in Charge of General Duties, Anifa Bangirana Kawooya said, “We are working in tricky times when a disease in one country can…

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Penplusbytes, partners to award Health reporters in Ghana

GHANA – To help reduce inequities in Ghana’s healthcare delivery, Penplusbytes together with its partners, SEND Ghana and the Ghana News Agency, implemented the USAID funded People for Health (P4H) project and are set to host the maiden edition of the Reducing Inequities in Healthcare Awards (RIHCA 2021). RIHCA 2021 which is themed “Rewarding media efforts in promoting equitable healthcare delivery in Ghana” will celebrate outstanding journalists whose media activities have contributed specifically promoting quality healthcare delivery in five major thematic areas. These key area of interests in health include;…

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India’s fight against COVID-19 receives boost from J&J’s single-shot vaccine

INDIA- India expects to receive its first doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine filled and finished in the country by American drugmaker’s partner Biological E. Last month, India’s drug regulator granted emergency approval to the J&J vaccine, whether imported or locally filled and finished by J&J’s Indian partner, Biological E. The Asian nation could receive up to 43.5 million doses of the single-shot vaccine in October, which would be a significant step toward helping India meet its target of producing more than 300 million doses in the month. Based…

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