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A week of COVID-19: Buhari risk; vaccine hoarding; repurposing drugs

The presidency is stirring up trouble! Welcome to the weekly newsletter on coronavirus pandemic from Daily Trust. I am Judd-Leonard Okafor, health writer and multimedia…

The presidency is stirring up trouble!

Welcome to the weekly newsletter on coronavirus pandemic from Daily Trust. I am Judd-Leonard Okafor, health writer and multimedia journalist.

President Muhammadu Buhari was bound to return from the UK where he had been to attend an international education summit – and see his private doctors for a routine medical checkup. And his return has caused an upheaval.

When Air Force 1 touched down in Abuja, the security chiefs and Inspector-General of Police were on hand to receive him. Then he inspected a guard of honour and hopped onto a chopper to fly to the Presidential Villa.

So what’s the problem with that? Nothing much, except that the president and his travel delegation were supposed to self-isolate for two weeks as required by COVID-19 protocols. The presidential spokesman announced the isolation that would be.

But that was without reckoning with the workaholic nature of some jobs. Turns out the president has continued just where he left off work – and that’s putting close aides and State House staff at risk.

This all comes as the country launched the second phase of its vaccination campaign against coronavirus to get the pandemic under control. The launch faces the threat of continued strike by doctors, experts have warned, as the absence of doctors could affect rollout across states.

Afrexim Bank is bankrolling the supply of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 for African states, and Nigeria expects to get some 40 million doses by 2022.

And in other COVID-19 coverage…

Thou shalt not hoard vaccines

As the second phase of vaccination campaign against coronavirus was flagged off at the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, the federal government has warned against the hoarding of the COVID-19 vaccines, amidst the rising cases of the pandemic in the country.

Akwa Ibom picks up 63,336 doses

Akwa Ibom Government said it has taken delivery of 63,336 doses of the Moderna vaccine to tackle the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

Secretary to the State Government and Chairman, Akwa Ibom State COVID-19 Committee, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem revealed that the monitoring mechanisms recently reactivated to ensure strict compliance with guidelines and protocols, would henceforth apprehend anyone flouting the directive.

Could anti-inflammatory drugs provide treatment?

On Wednesday, the agency said researchers would be looking at medications used to treat malaria, leukemia and autoimmune diseases such as arthritis.

Scientists believe that anti-inflammatory drugs can quell the immune system’s overreaction to the virus in COVID patients who are severely ill.

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Antibody test to detect level of immunity

Nizamiye Hospital, Abuja, has introduced an antibody test that detects a person’s level of immunity against COVID-19. Usman Habu Balbaya, Director Medical Laboratory Services of the hospital,said the COVID-19 antibody test is a simple test, which involves taking one’s blood sample, processing it and using the serum to detect the presence of antibodies against the virus.

India approves first-ever DNA vaccine

India’s drug regulator has approved the world’s first DNA vaccine against Covid-19 for emergency use.

The three-dose ZyCoV-D vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 66% of those vaccinated, according to an interim study quoted by the vaccine maker Cadila Healthcare. The firm plans to make up to 120 million doses of India’s second home-grown vaccine every year.

Is catching the virus better than getting vaccinated?

There are marked differences in your immune system after a natural infection with coronavirus and after vaccination. Which is better?

Even asking the question bordered on heresy a year ago, when catching Covid for the first time could be deadly, especially for the elderly or people already in poor health.

Where does the world stand now?

Globally, as of the evening of 20 August 2021, there have been 209,876,613 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4,400,284 deaths, reported to WHO. As of 20 August 2021, a total of 4,562,256,778 vaccine doses have been administered. That’s according to information on a dashboard the World Health Organisation is using the monitor the progress of the pandemic.

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