Africa CDC raises alarm over continent’s infectious diseases outbreaks

AFRICA – Africa is facing a syndemics, a combination of emerging infectious diseases, which are increasing the continents disease burden, the Africa Centers for Disease Control has announced. Dr john Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC, said that despite dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, the continent is at risk due to these infectious diseases. “The African continent as a whole is facing what we call a syndemics; a combination of emerging infectious diseases. We are dealing with this pandemic, but there will be another pandemic. “Syndemics are exacerbating the disease burden across…

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BioNTech to channel COVID-19 profits toward developing new Malaria and TB shots in Africa

AFRICA – BioNTech, a Covid-19 vaccine pioneer has said it will invest some of its profits from the Covid-19 vaccine it markets with Pfizer Inc. into developing shots for malaria and tuberculosis in Africa. This is part of the German based biotechnology giant plan to establish a large production hub for innovative medicines on the continent. The firm plans to build a factory in Africa and develop a manufacturing network with local partners to transfer its technology based on messenger RNA, a genetic molecule, to a continent that has suffered…

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Nigeria achieves commendable results in fight against tuberculosis amid coronavirus pandemic

NIGERIA – Nigeria has seen an increase in annual tuberculosis (TB) case notification due to strategic intervention by the National Tuberculosis, Buruli Ulcer and Leprosy Control Program (NTBLCP), in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) and other stakeholders working on TB control and elimination in Nigeria. In 2020 a total of 138,591 cases were notified;15 % higher compared to 106,533 and 120,266cases notified in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Also, comparing first quarters of 2019, 2020, 2021 case notification are 28,823, 33,132 and 43,838 (32% increase in Q1 2021 compared to…

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UNDP grants US$103 million to help Angola fight Malaria, HIV, Tuberculosis

ANGOLA – The United Nations injected a sum of US$103.2 million into Angola’s health system for the period 2021-2024, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Angolan Health Ministry said in a joint statement. According to the statement, the new global fund will pay to combat malaria, HIV and tuberculosis, especially in the southern provinces of Benguela and Cuanza Sul. With regard to malaria, the fund aims to reduce the number of deaths from 26 to 19 per 100 inhabitants, ensure at least 90 percent of the population in…

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WHO calls upon interested pharmaceutical companies to consider developing new TB vaccines

WORLD – In an open letter, Dr. Tereza Kasaeva, director, WHO Global TB Programme, addressed the need to have a vaccine that is functional to adults and adolescents as well. Dr. Tereza has challenged the need for political commitments to be increase as it was the case for the development of COVID-19 vaccines. WHO is also joining partners, civil society and affected people & communities around the world in calling for increased and sustained investments in TB vaccine development. The only existing vaccine, BCG was developed in 1921, 100 years…

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Roche’s tuberculosis diagnostic tests included in new WHO expansion guidelines for tuberculosis

SWITZERLAND – The Swiss based pharma company, Roche, now has its diagnostic tests included in World Health Organization (WHO) newly expanded tuberculosis guidelines. WHOs guidelines on nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) to detect tuberculosis (TB) and drug resistant TB post its expansion will now have increased number of molecular tests available to national TB programs in high-burden countries. The WHO included Roche’s diagnostic test, the Cobas MTB and Cobas MTB-RIF/INH tests, to enable multi-partner diagnostic approaches that can benefit patients and communities. Cobas MTB and cobas MTB-RIF/INH molecular tests provide…

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Metropolis Healthcare launches nexgen genome-sequencing TB diagnostics

WORLD – Metropolis healthcare, an Indian multinational chain of diagnostic companies, has launched a next generation sequencing (NGS) platform that can rapidly identify drug resistance in TB patients and provide data on genotypic type level of up to 18 TB antibiotics. The launch will be the first of its kind in India for a diagnostic service provider and will have Metropolis work alongside HaystackAnalytics, a startup providing genomics-based diagnostic services for infectious diseases. Metropolis healthcare is targeting to launch its NGS technology in Sri Lanka, Mauritius, the UAE, Kenya, Zambia,…

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Kenya risks losing KSh48 billion from Global Fund over Covid-19 Kemsa graft

KENYA – The Global Fund has said Kenya risks losing KSh48 billion (US$444.7 million) if corruption allegations at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) are not completed and changes made to ensure transparency. The fund mobilizes and invests money to accelerate the fight against Aids, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission began investigating allegations of graft at Kemsa last year over the procurement and supply of Covid-19 equipment. The agency cited an “irregular expenditure” of KSh7.8 billion. The Fund and the Kenyan government have signed a…

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African countries feature prominently in WHO’s new global lists of high-burden countries for TB

AFRICA – African countries have been cited in the new WHO lists of high burden countries for tuberculosis (TB), HIV-associated TB and multidrug/rifampicin-resistant TB. Zimbabwe transitioned out of the list of the 30 high TB burden countries while Gabon and Uganda joined the list. Angola, Chad, Ghana and Papua New Guinea have transitioned out of the 30 high TB/HIV burden countries whilst Gabon and Guinea have joined the list. The 30 high MDR/RR-TB burden countries list saw Ethiopia and Kenya transition out while Zambia joined. WHO officially communicated with the…

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