COVID-19 WRAP | South Africa's Biovac in talks to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines

14 October 2020 - 07:46
By TimesLIVE
Women take a photograph of a pink muhly grass field amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at a park in Hanam, South Korea, October 13 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji Women take a photograph of a pink muhly grass field amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at a park in Hanam, South Korea, October 13 2020.

October 14 2020 - 20:21

France's new daily Covid-19 cases above 20,000 again

France reported 22,591 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the daily tally going beyond the 20,000 threshold for the third time in six days, while hospitalisations and deaths linked to the disease also keep ramping up.

Those data are published as French President Emmanuel Macron is announcing new restrictions to contain the spread of the virus, including curfews imposed on Covid-19 hotspots, including Paris.

The cumulative number of confirmed cases rose to 779,063 and the seven-day moving average of new cases per day increased more than a record 17,000 figure for the third day running.


October 14 2020 - 19:09

WHO fears spike in global Covid-19 cases will be followed by increased deaths

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) chief scientist on Wednesday raised concern that the recent global increase in new Covid-19 infections will be followed by rising deaths that currently number around 5,000 every day.

Cases are surging, with nearly 20,000 infections reported in Britain and Italy, Switzerland and Russia among nations reporting record new cases.

More than 38 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and nearly 1.1 million have died, according to a Reuters tally.


October 14 2020 - 19:06

Eli Lilly says other Covid-19 antibody drug trials ongoing after study halted for safety concern

Eli Lilly & Co on Wednesday said other trials of its experimental coronavirus antibody therapy remain on track after a government-run study testing the treatment in hospitalised Covid-19 patients was paused due to safety concerns.

Lilly said on Tuesday that an independent safety monitoring board requested a pause in the trial, called ACTIV-3, due to a potential safety issue.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is collaborating with Lilly on the trial, said the advisory board paused the trial after seeing a "difference in clinical status" between patients on Lilly's drug on those who received a placebo, without providing further detail.


October 14 2020 - 15:34

SA's national state of disaster extended for another month

Co-operative governance & traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has extended the national state of disaster for another month.

Dlamini-Zuma signed a gazette on Wednesday confirming the extension of the coronavirus-enforced state of disaster. It was due to expire on October 15.

She said it was done “taking into account the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to address the impact of the [Covid-19] disaster”.


October 14 2020 - 14:37

Putin says Russia approves second Covid-19 vaccine

Russia has granted regulatory approval to a second Covid-19 vaccine, President Vladimir Putin said at a government meeting broadcast on state television on Wednesday.

Russia in August became the first country to grant regulatory approval for a Covid-19 vaccine, doing so before large-scale trials were complete, to the concern of some in the global scientific community.


October 14 2020 - 13:30

Malaysia reports 660 new coronavirus cases, four deaths

Malaysian health authorities reported 660 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as the capital imposed tighter restrictions on movement for two weeks.

The new infections, more than half in Sabah, a state under lockdown, raised Malaysia's cumulative tally to 17,540 cases. There were four new deaths reported, taking total fatalities to 167.


October 14 2020 - 12:30

South Africa's Biovac in talks to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines

A South African company part-owned by the government is in talks with the global Covid-19 vaccine distribution scheme and pharmaceutical companies to produce some of the vaccines the country needs to protect itself against the disease.

The Biovac Institute, a Cape Town-based joint venture between the government and private sector, could produce up to 30 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines per year, depending on the technology involved, Chief Executive Morena Makhoana told Reuters.

Depending on whether the vaccines require a one- or two-dose regimen, that could be enough for a quarter or half of South Africa's population.

"We need to look at who is likely to get to the finishing line and who has the technological fit," Makhoana said, when asked which vaccine candidate Biovac might partner with. "Discussions are happening and we are fairly confident that ... we will be able to clinch a deal."


October 14 2020 - 12:15

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 38.11 million, death toll at 1,084,890

More than 38.11 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,084,890​ have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019. 


October 14 2020 - 11:32

Northern Ireland to close restaurants in strictest UK lockdown - document

Northern Ireland is to impose the strictest Covid-19 restrictions seen in the United Kingdom since early summer, closing schools for two weeks and shuttering restaurants for four, the regional executive said in a letter seen by Reuters.

The closure will affect the entire hospitality sector, with the exception of takeaway and delivery services, and double the length of the annual October school break from one week to two, according to the letter sent to deputies in the regional parliament on Wednesday.


October 14 2020 - 10:30

Indonesia reports 4,127 new Covid-19 cases, 129 deaths

Indonesia reported 4,127 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 344,749, data from its Covid-19 task force showed.

Indonesia also recorded 129 new deaths, the highest daily increase in fatalities since Sept. 30, the data showed.


October 14 2020 - 09:12

Russian health minister says coronavirus situation remains strained - RIA

Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Wednesday that the coronavirus situation in the country remained very strained and that many people were not following all safety guidelines, the RIA news agency reported.

As of Tuesday, Russia had reported 1,326,178 infections. It has the fourth largest number of cases in the world behind the United States, India and Brazil.


October 14 2020 - 08:30

UK not heading for a national lockdown yet, minister says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is not yet heading towards a full national lockdown in England despite calls from the opposition leader for a "circuit breaker" lockdown, Work and Pensions Minister Thérèse Coffey said on Wednesday.

"I do not believe that the prime minister wants to set off on a national lockdown, but as ever he is advised by scientists - he takes that decision," Coffey told Sky.

Asked if England was heading for a national lockdown in the next two weeks, Coffey said: "I don't believe that is the case but as I say this will continue to be a decision that the prime minister will lead on."

Coffey said the three-tier system of lockdowns announced on Monday should be given a chance to work. 


October 14 2020 - 07:38

Mozambique's health minister tests positive for coronavirus

 Mozambique's health minister, Armindo Tiago, has tested positive for Covid-19, he said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that he was well, however, showing no symptoms, and in isolation at home."I am infected, but not sick," Tiago said.

"No one in this world can say that they are immune to the new coronavirus."

The southeast African nation has reported 10,258 infections, with 73 deaths.