Brazil struggles to control the coronavirus outbreak, while the new COVID vaccine Novavax shows 89% effectiveness.
Brazil has vaccinated more than a million people but it still represents less than 1% of the population as the country struggles to control an outbreak of coronavirus cases.
Hospitals are inundated with COVID-19 patients, the city of Manaus, the gateway to the Amazon rainforest, still facing a shortage of oxygen in hospitals.
A rapidly spreading COVID-19 strain detected in cities such as Manaus and Sao Paulo has posed new challenges for authorities who have been accused of being slow to respond.
Novavax, a US-based company, announced on Friday that its coronavirus vaccine appears to be 89% effective based on early findings from a British study, and that it also appears to work – but not as well – against new mutated versions of the virus circulating in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
Africa can expect at least 30% of its population to be vaccinated by the end of 2021, the World Health Organization has said as vaccines begin to enter the continent.
Globally, the pandemic has killed more than two million people and infected nearly 101 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Hello, it’s Virginia Pietromarchi in Rome, Italy giving you the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic:
UK bans flights to UAE
Britain bans direct passenger flights to and from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Friday, shutting down the world’s busiest international airline between Dubai and London.
Britain has said it is adding the United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda to its coronavirus travel ban list over concerns over the spread of a more contagious variant of COVID-19 and potentially vaccine resistant first identified in South Africa.
Read the full story here.
Novavax says vaccine is 89% effective in UK trial
Biotech company Novavax said its coronavirus vaccine was 89.3% effective in preventing COVID-19 in a UK trial, and was almost as effective in protecting against the more contagious variant first discovered in the UK, according to preliminary analysis.
A mid-term trial of the vaccine in South Africa, where a disturbing new variant of the virus is common, showed 60% effectiveness in people who did not have HIV.
Shares of Novavax jumped 34% in after-hours trading after the trial results were released on the same day the United States reported its first cases of the South African variant.
Read the full story here.
Brazil struggles to contain the epidemic
Brazil has vaccinated over a million people, but that’s less than 1 percent of the population. The country is struggling to contain the coronavirus and the situation appears far from being resolved as a rapidly spreading variant of the virus has already been detected in large cities like Sao Paulo.
Amazonas state capital Manaus faces an oxygen shortage, with healthcare workers working around the clock to prevent patients from suffocating to death.
“You ask a nurse to help you and she says there is nothing she can do because she is dealing with another patient who is dying in front of you,” said Valceny Ferreira in mourning. “There aren’t enough healthcare workers to cope with this, but we wouldn’t be in this state if the state of Amazonas had invested in healthcare,” she added.