Covid-19 Roundup: 3 herbal drugs undergoing clinical trials in Nigeria, 2.5m girls risk child marriage, others

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The third wave of the pandemic appears to be hitting really hard. Powered by the Delta variant, it is forcing countries around the world to put restrictions back in place. The US, for instance, has warned its citizens against travelling to France as the European country battles an unprecedented fourth wave.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also reported that the Delta variant has spiked an 80% increase in Covid-19 deaths across Africa.

South Africa remains the worst-hit African country after recording 6,787 new cases on Monday to bring its total to more than 2.5 million. Globally, there are currently nearly 205 million recorded cases which have resulted in more than 4.3 million deaths.

Back home in Nigeria, the country has continued to record an average of 450 cases per day during the week. But Tuesday witnessed a spike in the number of cases with a whopping 610 and 2 deaths across 12 states and the FCT. Lagos alone recorded 42 deaths in one week.

This high volume has prompted the Ekiti state government to ban social, religious and political gatherings in the state while mandating transporters to reduce the number of passengers by half. Here are other stories on the Covid-19 scene this week.

FG to commence phase 2 vaccination on August 16

The federal government has postponed the commencement of Phase 2 vaccination from August 10 to August 16. This is coming after the government received 4.8 million doses of the Moderna vaccine donated by the United States.

File: Nigeria receives the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines in March 2021

While debunking reports that the vaccination exercise was cancelled due to safety concerns surrounding the Moderna vaccines, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the second phase was postponed due to ‘purely administrative reasons’.

“You see, when vaccines arrive the country, they are taken to National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). The agency which will analyse them and thereafter give us a green light for the use,” he said.

While encouraging Nigerians to turn out en masse for the exercise, he revealed that, unlike the previous phase which targeted the elderly and most vulnerable, this phase would be focused on younger people from 18 and above as they are becoming increasingly susceptible to the virus.

3 herbal drugs undergoing clinical trial in Nigeria

The National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it has commenced clinical trials for 3 herbal drugs in its search for a cure for Covid-19. NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye revealed this while speaking on ARISE News Channel’s The Morning Show.

File: Herbal Covid-19 drugs from Madagascar

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have approved 45 herbal medicines for listing for temporal approval but you cannot say that they cure COVID-19. Out of these numbers, two or three herbal medicine products have started clinical trials,” she said.

The agency’s boss also revealed that the country is set to start manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines as soon as 2022. She said the FG is concerned about the inadequate supply of vaccines to millions of Nigerians and is working diligently to start local manufacture of the vaccine.

“In terms of local manufacturing, the federal government is working assiduously to ensure that there will be local manufacturing of vaccines within a year,” she said.

Covid-19 may force 2.5 million girls into early marriage

With the pandemic forcing a disruption in physical activities, a study by a professor of the Faculty of Public Health and Community Medicine in National Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN), Obehi Okojie has revealed that about 2.5 million girls risk being forced into early marriages by 2025.

A child-wife with baby
Image: Guardian

The prof who said this while delivering a lecture themed ‘Exploring the Impact of COVID-19 on Communities and the Mitigation Efforts’, said the pandemic is threatening to undo decades of progress in gender equality.

“Girls are disproportionately affected and the pandemic threatens to undo decades of progress in gender equality. Millions of girls might not be going back to school, putting them at risk of adolescent pregnancy, child marriage and violence,” he said.

9 Covid-19 patients die in Russia following rupture of oxygen pipe

At least 9 coronavirus patients have died in Russia after an oxygen pipe ruptured in a hospital, cutting off their supply of much-needed oxygen. The incident happened in Russia’s Republic of North Ossetia.

According to the Russian Health Ministry, 71 patients were in Intensive Care with 13 of them on mechanical ventilation when the rupture happened. The nine victims who were also on ventilators were reported to have suffered at least 90% lung damage before the rupture.

“Nine patients with coronavirus died due to the lack of oxygen at the Republic Clinical Hospital of Vladikavkaz,” the Russian health ministry said.

The head of the republic, Sergei Minyaylo was also quoted as saying “there was a rupture of the oxygen pipe” and “the oxygen supply was interrupted”.

According to Russia’s TASS news agency, the Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes in Russia, said a criminal case had been launched into the provision of services that do not meet safety requirements and result in deaths by negligence.

That’s all we have on Covid-19 for the week. Whatever you do, keep to safety rules and regulations, wear a mask and generally be safe out there.


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