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Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Covid cases are rising in Egypt again + we have an agreement to make Sinovac

Covid cases are beginning to tick up again: The Health Ministry reported 778 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 767 the day before and 709 on Sunday. The ministry also reported 43 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 12,253. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 206,510 confirmed cases of covid-19.

State-owned vaccine maker Vacsera will locally manufacture 20-60 mn doses a year of China’s Sinovac vaccine after an agreement was reached with the drugmaker, Health Minister Hala Zayed said in a statement.

When production will start remains an open question: Zayed didn’t give any hints yesterday about when the company will begin manufacturing the vaccine. Health ministry officials had previously said Egypt should start manufacturing the jab within a few months.

Sinovac is Sinopharm’s less popular cousin: The two-dose shot isn’t as effective, demonstrating a 51% efficacy rate in trials in February, compared to 79% for Sinopharm. The silver lining. Sinovac’s data suggests that it could prevent 84% of cases that would have required medical treatment and 100% of “hospitalized, severe, and fatal cases.”

More people getting vaccinated. The ministry started yesterday vaccinating employees of the Suez Canal Authority in Ismailia, according to a statement. This comes in parallel with rolling out doses for the staff of the national carrier Egypt Air as well as tourism workers, which the ministry expects to finish vaccinating before June.

Kiss goodbye to a Ramadan vacation if you’re a nurse. Medical staff at public hospitals won’t be allowed to take vacation during the coming period in preparation for a potential third wave of covid-19, ministry sources told Masrawy.

Another setback for AstraZeneca? There is a “clear” link between the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and very rare brain blood clots, Reuters quoted a senior official for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as saying in an interview with Italian daily Il Messagero. A number of European governments have temporarily suspended the vaccine this year on concerns that the inoculation was causing blood clotting in a small number of recipients. The EMA will release its official findings today or tomorrow.

Oxford University decided to suspend a clinical trial of the vaccine in 300 children until assessments are completed this week by the EMA and the UK’s medical regulator, the Financial Times reports.

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