July 25, 2021

Major setback for German CureVac’s vaccine, epidemic accelerates in Africa

The Covid-19 pandemic has killed more than 3.8 million people worldwide since the end of December 2019, according to a report established by Agence France-Presse (AFP) from official sources Thursday, June 17 at 12 hours.

After the United States (600,653 deaths), the countries with the highest number of deaths are Brazil (493,693), India (381,903), Mexico (230,624) and Peru (189,522). These figures, which are based on the daily reports of the national health authorities, are generally underestimated. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the toll of the pandemic could be two to three times higher than that officially recorded.

  • German CureVac vaccine suffers major setback

CureVac announced Wednesday evening that its main candidate vaccine against Covid-19 had only shown an effectiveness of 47%.

It was to be the next anti-Covid vaccine approved in Europe, already pre-ordered by millions of doses by Brussels. But for lack of sufficient efficacy, according to provisional data, the future of the product developed by the German laboratory CureVac now appears uncertain.

CureVac announced on Wednesday evening that its main vaccine candidate using messenger RNA technology against Covid-19 had only demonstrated 47% efficacy, according to the interim analysis of a large-scale clinical trial, and did not meet the required performance criteria at this stage.

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CureVac does not specify what its roadmap is now. The company was among the first to embark on the vaccine race and was still hoping to bring a high-performance vaccine to the market in May, or June at the latest. If the final efficacy of the product is not noticeably improved, a marketing launch seems unlikely, according to the experts.

The European Commission has signed a contract with the Tübingen biotech (southern Germany) for the purchase of 405 million doses. A continuous review procedure, as the results are published, is underway with the European Medicines Agency (EMA). “With the expected low efficacy, even if it improves slightly in the final evaluation, the Curevac vaccine will not be usable in Germany”, ruled Thursday Karl Lauterbach, expert on health issues within the Social Democratic Party, questioned by the daily Rheinische Post.

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  • The Covid-19 “is amplifying and accelerating” in Africa, according to the WHO

The third wave of Covid-19 cases “Amplifies and accelerates” in Africa with the variants, alerted Thursday the office of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the continent, calling for an increase in the supply of vaccines. Number of “Cases increasing by 22% per week” across the continent, worried Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Director for Africa, during a virtual press conference. She called for more vaccine deliveries: “Africa needs these doses here and now to stem the third wave. “Nearly twelve million people are now fully vaccinated, but this represents less than 1% of the population” of the continent, specifies the WHO in a press release.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Namibia and Uganda recorded their highest number of weekly cases since the start of the pandemic, insists the WHO. Much of the increase, according to the organization, is due to colder seasonal weather in southern Africa and the spread of more contagious variants. “The Delta variant has been reported in 14 African countries and the Beta and Alpha variants have been found in more than 25 African countries”, according to the press release.

WHO Africa has also noted an acceleration in vaccination on the continent, with more than 5 million doses administered in the last five days, compared to a weekly average of 3.5 million doses in the last three weeks. .

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  • Austria reopens its nightclubs

Also faced with an epidemiological situation “Very, very good”, according to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Austria will reopen from 1is July its dance floors, mostly closed since the first wave of the pandemic, in March 2020.

The Austrian government has also announced the end of capacity restrictions for cultural events. The FFP2 mask, imposed in January to ensure better protection against variants, will no longer be mandatory. However, it will be necessary to keep a classic mask in transport and closed places.

  • State of emergency lifted Sunday in Japan

The state of health emergency will be lifted on Sunday in Tokyo and other Japanese departments, the government confirmed on Thursday, but restrictions will be maintained and could limit the presence of a local audience at the Olympics (July 23 to 8 August).

The capital and several other Japanese departments had been subject since the end of April to a state of emergency regime consisting mainly of closing bars and restaurants in the early evening and preventing them from serving alcohol. This device will end on Sunday, as planned for Tokyo and eight other departments of the country, announced the Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga. However, it will be extended until July 11 for Okinawa (southwest). In addition, restrictions will continue to apply until July 11 in Tokyo and six other departments, including bars and restaurants, which will continue to close at 8 p.m., while being able to serve alcohol until 19 hours.

The World with AFP