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Smartphone to be used for daily tracking of first set to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Essential workers would get daily text messages on their smartphones enquiring about the side effects.

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The first set of Americans who get the doses of the first Covid-19 vaccines will be closely monitored by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through daily text messages and emails from their smartphones.

This disclosure was made by a federal advisory group on immunization practices during a meeting.

A CDC immunization expert, Tom Shimabukuro, at a meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, said that essential workers, who were expected to be the first recipients, would get daily text messages on their smartphones enquiring about the side effects in the first week after they get the shot, and then they would be contacted weekly for 6 weeks.

Shimabukuro disclosed that those essential workers could be as much as about 20 million people.

Janell Routh, a CDC medical officer revealed that the advisers also discovered that the CDC and the US Defense Department have set up technical assistance teams to help state and local jurisdictions develop and implement distribution plans, which are due for review and approval by October 16.

While addressing the panel, Routh said, “We are asking states to think broadly. In their plans, I think they should have contingencies for whether there’s an ultra-cold product only or whether there’s more than one vaccine available.”

This meeting is coming up at the time when some prominent voices like Bill Gates have expressed their distrust for CDC under its current leadership over their rush for vaccine development which has political undertones.

This is as polls conducted in the past 2 months revealed that majority of Americans expressed worry over the rush in vaccine development and a third wouldn’t get inoculated.

Shimabukuro said the quick detection of safety signals was of paramount importance, while also noting that the data gathered could provide reassurance if no safety concerns were detected.

While responding to a question over public safety concerns, Shimabukuro said there would be a chance to opt out of the smartphone program. He, however, pointed out that those who had opted out could also decide to opt back in at a later time.

The head of the panel’s Covid-19 vaccines working group, Beth Bell, said that the advisory group would counsel Robert Redfield, the CDC Director, on how best to get a Covid-19 vaccine to Americans. A vote on specifics though, won’t occur until after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration takes action on a vaccine.

The committee is made up of 15 voting members, who are mostly medical experts and academics, as well as government and medical industry representatives.

Every jurisdiction is “heavily involved right now in planning” and have been for some time, Routh said. It’s unclear whether states will know which vaccine could be first available. Each has different storage requirements with some needing extremely cold storage.

Kathleen Dooling, a CDC epidemiologist who presented to the immunization panel last month, said 10 to 20 million vaccine doses would be available in November if a vaccine is approved before then.

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Coronavirus

US Tennis player Sam Querrey accused of fleeing Russia on private jet after testing positive for COVID-19

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33 year old US tennis player Sam Querrey, has been accused of fleeing Russia on a private jet after he and his family tested positive for Covid-19.

Querrey and his wife had tested positive for the virus ahead of the St. Petersburg Open this week and were placed in quarantine at a  hotel, according to the tournament organizers.

Doctors had recommended Querrey and his family be moved to a private apartment but he did not allegedly answer the door when doctors were dispatched to evaluate his condition.

“Sam Querrey was scheduled to retest on Thursday, October 15, however, instead of acting in accordance with ATP rules and the tournament’s sanitary protocol, Sam Querrey was recorded leaving the hotel by hotel security cameras at 5.45 a.m. on October 13, with his family, without notifying the reception,”

“As Querrey told the ATP representative, he and his family left Russia on a private plane.” read a statement from organizers.

The ATP which is the World tennis controlling body, said it was aware of an incident “regarding a player’s serious breach of protocol”

Querrey has not won a grand slam singles title in his career but is ranked world number 47.

Querrey has not responded to the allegations as at press time.

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WHO study reveals new discovery about remdesivir drug’s effect on Covid-19 patients

The study found that the regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the length of the in-hospital course.

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A World Health Organization (WHO) study has discovered that Gilead Sciences Inc’s remdesivir had little or no effect on COVID-19 patients’ length of stay in the hospital or chances of survival.

The only antiviral drug authorized for treatments of Covid-19 in the US failed to prevent deaths among patients.

The antiviral medication, among the first to be used as a treatment for COVID-19, was one of the drugs recently used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection.

The results are from WHO’s Solidarity trial, which evaluated the effects of 4 potential drug regimens, including remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, anti-HIV drug combination lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon, in 11,266 adult patients across more than 30 countries.

The study found that the regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the length of the in-hospital course among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, the WHO said on Thursday.

The results of the trial, which were posted online on Thursday, October 15, 2020, are yet to be peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal

Earlier this month, data from a U.S. study of remdesivir by Gilead showed that the treatment cut COVID-19 recovery time by five days compared with patients who got a placebo in a trial comprising 1,062 patients.

Gilead told Reuters, “The emerging (WHO) data appears inconsistent, with more robust evidence from multiple randomized, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals validating the clinical benefit of remdesivir.

“We are concerned the data from this open-label global trial has not undergone the rigorous review required to allow for constructive scientific discussion, particularly given the limitations of the trial design.”

Remdesivir, which was originally developed as a treatment for Ebola and Hepatitis C, interferes with the reproduction of viruses by jamming itself into new viral genes.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Wednesday that during the study, hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir were stopped in June after they proved ineffective, but other trials continued in more than 500 hospitals and 30 countries.

Swaminathan said, “We’re looking at what’s next. We’re looking at monoclonal anti-bodies, we’re looking at immunomodulators and some of the newer anti-viral drugs that have been developed in the last few months.”

Remdesivir received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 1, and has since been authorized for use in several countries.

Gilead, however, disputed the conclusions of the W.H.O. study on Thursday, noting that a variety of drugs and drug combinations had been evaluated under a wide range of circumstances and that more rigorous studies had found a benefit.

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148 new cases of Coronavirus recorded in Nigeria

On the 15th of October 2020, 148 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria

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148 new cases of Coronavirus were recorded in Nigerian on Thursday October 15, as confirmed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

A breakdown of the new cases is as follows; Lagos (66), FCT (25), Oyo (13), Plateau (11), Kaduna (7), Rivers (6), Ebonyi (5), Ekiti (4), Ogun (4), Imo (2), Ondo (2), Edo (1), Nasarawa (1), Taraba (1).

A total of 60,982 cases have been confirmed in the country, 52,194 cases have been discharged and 1,116 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

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