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Raila Odinga Hospitalised

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Kenya’s main opposition leader Raila Odinga has been admitted to the Nairobi Hospital with general fatigue and body aches, his family has said.

In an interview with local media, Oburu Odinga- the former Prime Minister’s elder brother- said there was no need for alarm.

Oburu claimed that as of Tuesday night when he left the hospital, the results of a medical test which included a Covid-19 test were not yet in.

While watering down claims that the ODM leader had contracted Covid-19, Oburu said the 2022 presidential hopeful had not exhibited any symptoms that pointed at a respiratory disease.

“I was there with him last night, but the medical tests had not come back on Covid-19 but from what I observed, he did not have breathing complications or chest pains, just general fatigue and body aches,” Oburu told media.

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Health Centre In Gatsibo Gets New Maternity Ward

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Expectant mothers in Gitoki sector in Gatsibo district have a new well equipped maternity facility that will effectively handle maternity related cases.

Gitoki is part of 14 sectors that make up Gatsibo district. They include; Gasange, Gatsibo, Gitoki, Kabarore, Kageyo, Kiramuruzi, Kiziguro, Muhura, Murambi, Ngarama, Nyagihanga, Remera, Rugarama and Rwimbogo.

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New Study Reveals Russian Vaccine Less Effective Against South African Variant

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 Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine appears significantly less effective in combating the South African variant of the virus, a new laboratory study of 12 cases has shown.

Scientists in the U.S. used blood samples from Argentinians who had been vaccinated with Sputnik V to investigate whether the antibodies they had produced would effectively fight various mutations of the virus which have been designated “variants of concern” by the global health community.

The researchers found that the immune response produced against variant B1.351 — the strain first identified in South Africa — was “markedly reduced” compared with the reaction to the initial coronavirus strains.

Sputnik V was also less effective in combating all variants with the E484K mutation — a specific mutation, nicknamed “Eek” by some scientists, which is present in the South African and Brazilian variants of the virus, and has recently been discovered in the U.S. and Japan.

“Sera from Sputnik vaccine recipients in Argentina had a median 6.1-fold and 2.8-fold reduction in neutralizing potency against B.1.351 and the E484K mutant spike, respectively,” the study said.

In eight of the 12 cases — 67% — the researchers found antibody responses that were “indicative of a failure to neutralize” against the South African variant, pointing to “markedly reduced neutralization titers” in the blood samples.

The results appear to contradict earlier statements by Russia’s health watchdog that claimed Sputnik V provided effective protection against variants of the virus.

No research into the effectiveness of the Sputnik V vaccine against virus mutations in the real world has been published.

The researchers added that Sputnik V was “likely to retain strong efficacy at preventing severe Covid-19, even in the case of infection by variants of concern,” but said their data pointed to a “concerning potential of B1.351 [the South African strain], and to a lesser extent, any variant carrying the E484K substitution, to escape the neutralizing antibody responses that this immunization elicits.”

This study — led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York — was based on laboratory analysis using blood from 12 people who had been vaccinated with Sputnik V.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is based on similar adenovirus technology to Sputnik V, has also previously been found to deliver less effective protection against mild and moderate infections from the South African variant, although in a clinical trial with 2,000 participants there were no reported severe cases, suggesting vaccines may still be effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

The study into Sputnik V also found that the jab appeared to be effective in preventing infection with the British variant of the virus — with antibody responses at a similar level to those noted in the peer-reviewed research into Sputnik V’s overall effectiveness, which was conducted and published before virus mutations had been identified.

The Sputnik V jab was found to have 91.6% efficacy against Covid-19 in a paper published in The Lancet.

The British variant has shown faster transmissibility rates — becoming the dominant strain of the virus in the U.K. and many other European countries — as well as higher mortality rates.

The head of Russia’s Rospotrebnadzor consumer watchdog, which is leading the country’s response against the pandemic, said only six cases of the South African variant have been detected in Russia.

In an interview with the Izvestia newspaper, Anna Popova added that 81 cases of the British variant have been detected.

She also warned Russians against unnecessary travel and said border closures had helped keep mutations of the coronavirus largely out of Russia.

“Since the Sputnik vaccine is now widely in use not only in Russia, but also in countries like Argentina, Chile, and Hungary, where some of the variants of concern … are more widespread, it is critical to assess the neutralizing activity of Sputnik vaccine-elicited antibody responses against these variants and mutant spikes,” the researchers noted.

Argentina’s president, who was vaccinated with Sputnik V, tested positive for the coronavirus over the weekend. He was experiencing only mild symptoms, which his doctors credited to having received the jab.

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Delaying Vaccinations Raises Chances Of new Variants – Rockefeller

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 Rockefeller Foundation, an American private foundation that seeks to improve lives and the planet, and unleashing human potential, through innovation has released a 22-page report detailing a quick plan on ending Covid-19 Pandemic.

According to the foundation, a plan to end the Covid-19 pandemic by speeding up immunizations could be financed through a record asset allocation via the International Monetary Fund.

Rockefeller Foundation notes that the IMF should approve and swiftly distribute $650 billion in additional reserve assets to help developing economies vaccinate as much as 70% of their populations by the end of next year, the Rockefeller Foundation said in a report Monday.

Delaying immunizations raises the likelihood new variants will emerge that could cause “rolling outbreaks resulting in further economic shutdowns,” according to the report, whose contributors include former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Jeffrey Sachs, a professor of economics at Columbia University in New York.

“Vaccine-resistant variants that mutate in one under-vaccinated country can quickly spread to one that’s been immunized,” said Rajiv J. Shah, president of the New York-based foundation, in the report.

“Current vaccination plans and the funding behind them are simply not enough to protect us all.” The report details ways to leverage a large issuance and reallocation of IMF special drawing rights — an international reserve asset created in 1969 — which can be exchanged for freely-usable currencies.

The report calls for wealthier countries to commit to voluntarily reallocating at least $100 billion of their unneeded drawing rights to provide further support to the developing world.

‘Liquidity Boost’

If approved, the new allocation would add a substantial, direct liquidity boost to countries without swelling debt burdens, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said last month. A formal proposal is slated to be presented to the IMF board in June.

Financing from the World Bank, the IMF and regional development banks, including mobilized private capital, needs to increase by $400 billion to $500 billion a year as the world recovers from the pandemic to help assure a broad and sustainable rebound in emerging and developing countries, according to the report.

If the virus is allowed to spread in countries with low vaccination rates, it’s likelier to mutate and generate variants that could bypass protection from inoculations, the report said.

As a result, even countries with high vaccination rates would be vulnerable. The world is 4-to-6 times more likely to get a new variant from an under-vaccinated country that isn’t a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development than from a fully protected OECD country, it said.

For every $1 spent on supplying poorer countries with vaccines, high-income countries would get back about $4.80, Rand Corp. said in a research brief last year.

Any plan should incorporate strategies to mitigate the risk of future pandemics by addressing ongoing microbial threats, including antimicrobial resistance, said Olga Jonas, a senior fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute, in an email.

“What is really needed is an urgent plan for robust core veterinary and human public-health systems in all low- and middle-income countries,” said Jonas, who worked for more than three decades at the World Bank, including as an economist specializing in pandemics.

Without such systems, any recovery will disappear when another outbreak isn’t controlled and becomes the next pandemic, she said.

“The likelihood that it happens next year or in five years has not decreased because we already had a pandemic,” Jonas said. “There will be another one.”

Bloomberg

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