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Thursday, 21 January 2021

Everything covid home and abroad on 21 January 2021

Sinopharma jab coming in days? That’s according to Ala Mas'ouleety's Ahmed Moussa, who claimed last night that Egypt will receive a shipment of 100k doses of the Chinese vaccine next week (watch, runtime: 6:01).

The caveat: This was completely unsubstantiated and we have no idea where Moussa is getting this information from.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard they’re coming “in days”: Health Minister Hala Zayed said the same over a week ago, adding that Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance will also be sending vaccines our way at the beginning of February. The Sinopharm vax was approved by Egyptian regulators at the beginning of January.

Cases fall again: The Health Ministry reported 789 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 899 the day before. The ministry also reported 51 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 8,747. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 158,963 confirmed cases of covid-19.

Public schools and universities could shift entirely online when students return from mid-year break on 20 February to contain the second wave of covid-19 under proposals currently under review by the education and higher education ministries, Al Shorouk reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

African countries now have access to a USD 2 bn vaccines pre-order program launched on Tuesday by the African Union’s (AU) new online covid-19 vaccines marketplace Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP). Under the program, AMSP partner Afreximbank will back orders placed with vaccine manufacturers selling to the AU’s 55 member states. The launch of the program comes after the AU’s covid-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team secured 270 mn provisional doses from Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca.

A shortfall in vaccine supply to lower income countries could threaten the efficacy of existing jabs as the virus continues to circulate, and potentially mutate, among large swaths of the global population without access, the FT reports. World Health Organization boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had criticized the inequitable distribution earlier this week, saying that the great leveler known as Covax, which was set up to regulate the distribution, is being undermined.

A new study presents more proof that the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine will be effective against mutant strains of the coronavirus: The study — the results of which were released yesterday — tested all 10 mutations on the virus’ spike protein, as opposed to the previous study, which only looked at a single mutation. The result “makes it very unlikely that the UK variant will escape” protection from the vaccine, wrote BioNTech’s research team, adding that they are willing to adapt the vaccine if needed in the future. Bloomberg and the Financial Times have the story.

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