Ascendis shareholders overwhelmingly approve restructuring

SOUTH AFRICA – Shareholders of embattled Ascendis Health have overwhelmingly approved a restructuring deal that will leave it a solely SA player and could see it soon delist from the JSE. In total, 98.53% of Ascendis shareholders have approved restructuring aimed at solving its unsustainable debt structure, and which may see it delist Just more than 98% of shareholders approved a restructuring transaction that will now kick off a process of management engaging with potential investors about remaining assets, seeking to unlock value from a group that has seen its…

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South Africa launches drive to vaccinate 500,000 in two days

SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa has launched a new COVID-19 vaccination drive to try and give doses to 500,000 people in two days to reinvigorate a flagging campaign that’s coming up against hesitancy and complacency in the continent’s worst-affected country. The campaign will run through Saturday, and is the first time South Africa has offered vaccines on a wide scale to people on the weekend. The government has urged anyone 18 or over who hasn’t been vaccinated to turn up at hospitals, town centers and mobile clinics nationwide for a…

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Sanofi urged to handover abandoned m-RNA vaccines to SA’s tech transfer hub

SOUTH AFRICA – Following news that French pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi will abandon its promising mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has urged the corporation to transfer the technology and know-how for the vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in South Africa. “It’s unconscionable for Sanofi to let a promising vaccine candidate gather dust on its shelves simply because it won’t be lucrative for them, when they have an opportunity to put this research to lifesaving use by transferring their know-how to…

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South Africa, Oxfam call for impartial trade rules in response to pandemic

SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s president and the head of Oxfam have heaped pressure on World Trade Organization members and manufacturers to allow fairer access to COVID-19 vaccines, including through a waiver on intellectual property rights. At a WTO public event on trade and COVID-19 also attended by German vaccine maker BioNTech, Cyril Ramaphosa said a waiver on patents was needed to save millions of lives during the pandemic. “This is not the time just to be uni-dimensionally focused on profit. This is the time to save lives,” Ramaphosa said.…

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Sizwe, Hosmed get green light to merge, creating South Africa’s 8th-largest medical scheme

SOUTH AFRICA – The Council for Medical Schemes has given its stamp of approval to the merger of Hosmed Medical Scheme and Sizwe Medical Fund, creating South Africa’s eighth-largest open medical scheme. The merger brings together Sizwe’s 46 900 membership with Hosmed’s 21 000. According to these membership numbers, the merged entity becomes the eighth largest medical scheme in the country with the fourth-highest solvency ratio of the top 10n largest medical schemes, the company said in a statement yesterday. “There are no words to describe the significance of the…

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South Africa exits third wave as number of fully vaccinated people clocks 8.4 M

SOUTH AFRICA – According to a statement by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), South Africa has officially exited its third wave of Covid-19 infections. “Nationally, we have exited the third wave, according to the current definition. The national seven-day moving average of daily case numbers, positivity rate, and testing rate continue to decrease, with sustained decreases seen in all provinces,” the statement read. According to statistics published by the NICD, the country recorded 2,896,943 laboratory-confirmed cases as of yesterday. There were 51 new Covid-19-related deaths, bringing the confirmed…

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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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South African healtech Aviro secures pre-series A funding to improve and expand operations

SOUTH AFRICA – Aviro Pocket Clinic, a South African digital company that offers services empowering patients with accessible and engaging counseling and linkage to services via phones or other devices, has successfully closed a pre-series A funding round to go into expansion and improved service delivery. Over the past two years, Aviro Pocket Clinic has assisted 50,000 patients to access healthcare in Kenya and South Africa and is validated by leading healthcare providers such as UCT, ITS, and John Hopkins. The digital health self-care platform helps patients achieve favorable health…

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South Africa based vaccine know-how transfer hub to replicate Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine

AFRICA – The WHO has initiated talks with USA based Moderna Inc to develop Covid-19 vaccines in Africa designed to help more developing countries access COVID-19 shots after rich nations bought up most of this year’s supply. The operations, which are to be carried out in the WHO- backed African vaccine hub may delay a while due to lack of progress in talks with the U.S. company, a senior WHO official has said. October last year, Moderna said it would not enforce patents related to its shot during the pandemic,…

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Sanlam pays out over US$ 1.55 billion to Covid-19 claims as it curates mandatory staff vaccination

AFRICA – Sanlam, which is Africa’s largest insurer, has paid US$ 1.55 billion and counting in death claims since the beginning of 2020, with this year turning out to be the worst with the insurer paying at least US$ 705 million in mortality claims in the first six months of 2021. This is possibly a function of a bigger market share in the part of the population most affected by the second wave of Covid-19 infections. However, Sanlam CFO Abigail Mukhuba also pointed out that affluent clients who are normally…

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