Tuesday, 21 September, 2021


Zweli Mkhize: Astrazeneca vaccines will be distributed by AU to other countries

Concerned over the detection of various mutant strains the government is looking at increasing the RT-PCR tests in the flights Concerned over the detection of various mutant strains the government is looking at increasing the RT-PCR tests in the flights
Melba Vasquez | 17 February, 2021, 13:10

The AU's disease control body said last week it was not " walking away" from AstraZeneca's vaccine but would target itsuse in countries that have not reported cases of the morecontagious 501Y.V2 variant first identified in South Africa latelast year. All travellers and contacts have been tested and quarantined.

ICMR's apex laboratory National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, is attempting to isolate and culture the South African variant to understand its way of functioning, transmissibility, and the effect of the vaccine.

The country paused the rollout of AstraZeneca doses thismonth, after preliminary trial data showed they offered minimalprotection against mild to moderate illness from the country'sdominant coronavirus variant.

The ministry said it was "continuously engaging" with the manufacturers of Sputnik V and that it had signed a non-disclosure agreement with China's Sinopharm to receive more information about its vaccine.

United Kingdom researchers found evidence that suggests that variant "may be associated with an increased risk of death compared with other variants", but more study is required, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both the South African and Brazilian strains have a mutation in the receptor binding domain of the virus, which makes it easier for the virus to bind itself to the lungs. "There is no guarantee that we would not see another surge".

About the SA variant, better known as B.1.351, Bharagava said that its cases were reported in January in four returnees from African countries. The Brazilian strain, which has increased transmissibility, has been found in 15 countries.

Dr V K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, said the emergence of the two variants was a matter of concern. It is still affecting our population and can raise the number of cases.

And now, the suggestion that its use should be further limited has prompted additional questions in a country that already had one of the highest rates of vaccine skepticism in the world. Hopefully, these variants will not cause a catastrophic situation in the country.

The health authorities are carrying out genetic sequencing on samples of the virus taken from diagnosed patients to detect for either of the variants.

This marks the start of South Africa's new, adjusted vaccine roll-out plan where jabs will be given as part of an implementation study conducted by the South African Medical Research Council and the Department of Health.

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