Debate rages on COVID

A well being employee prepares to manage the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through the flag-off of COVID-19 Mass Vaccination by the Nigerian authorities in Abuja, Nigeria, on November 19, 2021. (Photograph by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

Medical specialists are divided over the perfect containment measures as COVID-19 continues to mutate into deadlier variants. The talk was heightened after United Kingdom (UK), United States, Canada and others positioned Nigeria and another international locations on pink record and banned air journey from the latter.

Additionally, issues have been raised because the inventor of AstraZeneca vaccine, Sarah Gilbert, on Monday, warned that the following pandemic might be extra contagious and deadly, whilst she urged well being officers to not let down their guard on pandemic preparedness post-COVID-19.

In the meantime, latest research have proven that folks might must get vaccinated each six months to 1 12 months for a few years to return and that the virus will proceed to mutate into deadlier variants due to low vaccination protection, particularly in creating international locations.

Former President, Nigerian Medical Affiliation (NMA), Dr. Omede Idris, instructed The Guardian: “All these are pointless and uncalled for. Precautionary journey tips of take a look at and vaccinations and non-pharmaceutical interventions are higher alternate options.”

Chairman, Skilled Overview Committee on COVID-19 and foremost virologist, Prof. Oyewole Tomori, instructed The Guardian: “The scenario was anticipated. It’s one other alternative to look at the explanations for putting us on the pink finish of the RAG (Pink Amber Inexperienced). Somebody requested me if we have already got the Omicron. I stated allow us to look ahead to the arrival of outbound Nigerians at their vacation spot. The vacation spot international locations will detect the Omicron we fail to detect and inform us. And that’s precisely what occurred.”

Tomori, who can be pioneer Vice Chancellor of Redeemer’s College and Chairman, Biovaccine Board, added: “From Canada to UK to Indonesia, Ghana, they’re discovering Omicron amongst Nigerians arriving their international locations. How come all these individuals left Nigeria with clear unfavourable laboratory checks? We later found three Omicron instances, of which two are latest South African travellers. Might they’ve been members of Ramaphosa’s workforce? We’re demonstrating that we’re incapable of detecting the Omicron instances by ourselves. Due to this fact, to them, it’s safer to travel-ban us. I don’t blame them. We’re solely paying for our incompetence.”

A haematology oncologist at Lagos College Educating Hospital (LUTH) and former Chairman, Nigerian Medical Affiliation (NMA) Lagos Chapter, Prof. Edamisan Temiye, instructed The Guardian: “My opinion is that the ban by the UK authorities is just too hasty and isn’t based mostly on the truth on floor. Thoughts you, it’s now clear that this Omicron variant has been round for a while and it, certainly, didn’t originate from Africa. The one factor that occurred was that South Africa was the primary nation to announce it. Additionally, there is no such thing as a proof that there’s upsurge of COVID-19 an infection in Nigeria.”

Nationwide Chairman, Scientific Pharmacists Affiliation of Nigeria (CPAN), Dr. Joseph Madu, stated banning flights is discriminatory and unscientific, particularly in opposition to African international locations . “It’s unrealistic and stunning to everybody, particularly if we think about the truth that discovery of the Omicron variant in South Africa or Botswana has been allegedly traced to non-Africans who visited the international locations,” he stated.

Madu added: “Existence of the variant simply acquired found within the African international locations nearly on the similar time instances have been confirmed in non-African international locations equivalent to america of America.

“Moreover, a rustic like Nigeria has been counseled for the exemplary technique engaged by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), Nigerian Centre For Illness Management (NCDC) and so forth. within the battle in opposition to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was stated to be instrumental in clinching of a better job by the instant previous chief of NCDC, Dr. Chike Ihekweazu.”

He stated if the British authorities and Canada, as an illustration, need to ban flights from international locations the place the virus has been confirmed, then america (U.S.) ought to have been included as effectively.

The pharmacist stated they couldn’t ban flights from a rustic equivalent to Nigeria with solely about three confirmed instances, but pass over a rustic such because the U.S. the place the variant has been confirmed in 16 states.

“What’s the proportion of three individuals in a inhabitants of about 200 million Nigerians, if one might ask? It’s subsequently unscientific to ban flights from Nigeria and sure international locations with very low instances,” he stated.

He stated the suddenness of the ban in relation to emergence of the variant, which is traceable to non-permanent residents or guests to among the international locations, ought to be re-evaluated.

Madu urged the British and Canadian governments to rescind this determination. “Going by the impact of COVID-19 on Africans dwelling in Africa, it may be deduced scientifically that the illness and the variant are unlikely to have emerged from any African nation,” he stated.

The pharmacist additional defined: “Initially of the pandemic, it was estimated in some quarters that tens of millions of Africans will die, however Western international locations’ scientists have been confirmed incorrect, as they later confirmed that Africa has been spared by the virus for causes which is probably not unconnected to local weather and different elements.

“So, if the virus hardly kills Africans, how may it have emerged from African international locations, resulting in ban of flights or placement on pink record meant just for African international locations?”

Nationwide Chairman, Affiliation of Group Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Adewale Aderemi Oladigbolu, instructed The Guardian: “It is a name to motion for the Nigeria authorities. COVID-19 vaccination protection in Nigeria is abysmal and we have to demolish all insurance policies of presidency that restrict entry to vaccines. We should always realise the UK’s ban on flights is a protecting measure for her residents in view of excessive virulence and the exponential rise in COVID-19 instances in some international locations of the world. Nigeria’s businesses and parastatals should love Nigerians effectively sufficient to take related measures to guard her residents.

“The funded analysis establishments in Nigeria should proceed with energetic genomic surveillance and Nigerians should additionally take tasks for his or her well being and that of others by observing COVID-19 protocols.

“Additionally, it’s not too late to seek for indigenous medicines for COVID-19. Effectively that means Nigerians ought to fund analysis into natural medicines via colleges of pharmacies and different analysis establishments in Nigeria. We can’t go away the job for presidency alone.”

In the meantime, one of many Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine inventors has warned that one other pandemic will threaten human lives and might be “extra contagious” and “extra deadly.”

Prof. Dame Sarah Gilbert, delivering the forty fourth prestigious Richard Dimbleby Lecture, stated scientific advances made in analysis in opposition to preventing lethal viruses “should not be misplaced”.

Gilbert stated: “This is not going to be the final time a virus threatens our lives and our livelihoods. The reality is, the following one might be worse. It might be extra contagious, or extra deadly, or each.”

She added: “We can not permit a scenario the place we have now gone via all we have now gone via, after which discover that the big financial losses we have now sustained imply that there’s nonetheless no funding for pandemic preparedness. The advances we have now made, and the information we have now gained, should not be misplaced.”

Additionally, a research of virtually 800,000 veterans discovered the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson dropped dramatically because the Delta variant swept america.

The research, revealed within the journal Science, says the three vaccines provided about the identical safety in opposition to the virus in March, when the Delta variant was first detected within the U.S., however that modified six months later.

The Moderna two-dose vaccine went from being 89 per cent efficient in March to 58 per cent efficient in September, in keeping with a narrative concerning the research within the Los Angeles Instances.

In the meantime, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine went from being 87 per cent efficient to 45 per cent efficient over the identical interval.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine confirmed the most important drop — from 86 per cent effectiveness to 13 per cent over these six months.

“In abstract, though vaccination stays protecting in opposition to SARS-CoV-2 an infection, safety waned because the Delta variant emerged within the U.S., and this decline didn’t differ by age,” the research stated.

The three vaccines additionally misplaced effectiveness within the potential to guard in opposition to demise in veterans 65 and over after solely three months, the Los Angeles Instances reported.

The researchers stated the research confirms the necessity for booster vaccines and protecting measures equivalent to vaccine passports, vaccine mandates, masking, hand-washing, and social distancing.

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