COVID-19 WRAP | AstraZeneca says Covid-19 'vaccine for the world' can be 90% effective

23 November 2020 - 07:37 By TimesLIVE
A student of the Emile Dubois Lycee takes part in antigen testing for Covid-19 in Paris, France on November 23 2020.
A student of the Emile Dubois Lycee takes part in antigen testing for Covid-19 in Paris, France on November 23 2020.
Image: Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

November 23 2020 - 20:56

SA records 'concerning' Covid-19 positivity rate of 14% as 2,080 new cases are confirmed

SA recorded 2,080 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, but the biggest worry was that this came from 14,377 tests — a positivity rate of nearly 14.5%.

The health ministry said this positivity rate was “concerning”. The new cases takes the county's total to 769,759 confirmed infections.

Just last week, the health ministry raised concern that the positivity rate had increased to 12%, which was already higher than the 10% benchmark that was considered within acceptable levels. In its statement on Monday night, the ministry also reported 65 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the national death toll to 20,968.

November 23 2020 - 20:28

Nigeria to bar those who flout Covid-19 test rules from flying

Nigeria will bar passengers who fail to follow the country's Covid-19 protocol from flying for six months, an official said on Monday.

Passengers returning to Nigeria are currently required to test for Covid-19 both before they board return flights and seven days after they arrive. They also must pay for the tests in advance.

Dr Sani Aliyu, coordinator of Nigeria's Covid-19 task force, said 60% of those who pre-paid for tests had failed to show up for them.


November 23 2020 - 18:50

Italy's Covid-19 death toll passes 50,000, with 630 new fatalities

Italy reported 630 Covid 19-related deaths on Monday, rising from 562 the day before and taking the official toll since its outbreak began in February to 50,453, according to health ministry data.

Italy, the first Western country to be hit by the epidemic, becomes the sixth nation in the world to surpass 50,000 deaths, and the second in Europe after Britain.

The health ministry also reported 22,930 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, down from 28,337 the day before, with the fall reflecting the usual drop in the number of swabs conducted on Sundays.


November 23 2020 - 18:03

UK PM Johnson sets out new measures to replace Covid lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out new measures on Monday to replace a national lockdown to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic in England on December 2, strengthening a tiered regional approach to reflect differences in infection rates.

"We're not going to replace national measures with a free for all ... We're going to go back instead to a regional, tiered approach, applying the toughest measures where Covid is most prevalent," Johnson told parliament.

"The scientific advice is ... that our tiers need to be made tougher."


November 23 2020 - 17:02

WHO welcomes news on AstraZeneca vaccine, awaits trial data

The news on Astrazeneca's Covid-19 vaccine results is "encouraging and we look forward to seeing the data as we do with other promising results of recent weeks", the World Health Organisation's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Monday.

In a statement to Reuters, she said: "We welcome the efforts of Oxford/AZ to make the vaccine affordable and easy to store, which will be good for countries and people everywhere."

AstraZeneca said on Monday its Covid-19 vaccine could be around 90% effective, giving the world's fight against the global pandemic a new weapon, cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale-up than rivals.


November 23 2020 - 16:07

AstraZeneca says Covid-19 'vaccine for the world' can be 90% effective

AstraZeneca said on Monday its Covid-19 vaccine could be around 90% effective, giving the world's fight against the global pandemic a new weapon, cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale-up than rivals.

The British drugmaker said it will have as many as 200 million doses by the end of 2020, around four times as many as US competitor Pfizer.

Seven hundred million doses could be ready globally as soon as the end of the first quarter of 2021. "This means we have a vaccine for the world," said Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford University vaccine group that developed the drug.


November 23 2020 - 15:29

More than 300,000 pupils may have 'dropped out' of primary school during pandemic

More than 300,000 pupils have potentially dropped out of primary schools across SA over a six-month period during the lockdown.

This was confirmed by basic education minister Angie Motshekga in response to questions in the National Assembly by DA MP Nomsa Tarabella-Marchesi.

KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of suspected dropouts at 126,553, followed by the Western Cape with 114,588, Gauteng with 55,571, the Northern Cape with 10,290 and Eastern Cape with 8,153. 

November 23 2020 - 15:21

US prepares for first Covid-19 shots as another vaccine candidate emerges

US officials prepared to begin inoculating Americans against the novel coronavirus by mid-December as another global drug company on Monday announced promising trial results toward a vaccine, providing hope as the pace of infections accelerated.

The head of the US campaign to rapidly deploy a vaccine said on Sunday that US healthcare workers and other high-risk people could start getting shots within a day or two of regulatory consent next month.

US approval for distributing a vaccine produced by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech could come as soon as December 11, Dr Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser for "Operation Warp Speed," told television news shows.


November 23 2020 - 15:09

Britain on track for spring roll-out after Oxford vaccine results, researcher says

An ambitious timeline make a Covid-19 vaccine widely available in Britain by next spring is on track after Oxford/AstraZeneca's candidate proved up to 90% effective in late-stage trials, the head of the university's Jenner Institute said on Monday.

"I think we are on track for the timeline... to start getting this vaccine rolled out from December," Adrian Hill, director of Oxford's Jenner Institute, told Reuters, adding that high-risk groups would receive shots before it was rolled out more widely to everyone in spring.

"I think that could be done. It's going to be an enormous effort... hopefully there will be vaccine available for all adults, but that's likely to be springtime rather than in January."


November 23 2020 - 15:00

Financial and relationship strains put a stop on post-lockdown baby boom

At the beginning of the lockdown, many speculated on social media about a Covid-19 baby boom, with some even suggesting names for the new generation, including “coronials” and “quaranteens”.

However, fertility experts around the country have predicted the exact opposite as the pandemic has left many people financially unstable and some relationships on the rocks, forcing many women to put their baby plans on ice.

Not only has the pandemic put a damper on population growth, but the protracted closure of borders in many countries also put some of the country’s world-class fertility specialists out of business as overseas clientele shrinks.

November 23 2020 - 12:32

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 58.61 million, death toll at 1,389,031

More than 58.61 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,389,031​ 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. 


November 23 2020 - 09:36

AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine shows average efficiency of 70%

AstraZeneca said on Monday its vaccine for the novel coronavirus, developed along with the University of Oxford, showed an average efficiency of 70% in protecting against the virus in two study segments. 


November 23 2020 - 07:36

Unicef says to ship 2 billion Covid vaccines to poor nations in 2021

 Nearly 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines will be shipped and flown to developing countries next year in a "mammoth operation", the UN children's agency Unicef said on Monday, as world leaders vowed to ensure the fair distribution of vaccines.

Unicef said it was working with over 350 airlines and freight companies to deliver vaccines and 1 billion syringes to poor countries such as Burundi, Afghanistan and Yemen as part of COVAX, a global Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan with the World Health Organization (WHO).

"This invaluable collaboration will go a long way to ensure that enough transport capacity is in place for this historic and mammoth operation," said Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF's Supply Division, in a statement.

COVAX - co-led by GAVI vaccine group, the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations - aims to discourage governments from hoarding Covid-19 vaccines and to focus on first vaccinating the most at risk in every country.