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US firm announces ‘positive’ phase 1 results for virus vaccine

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AFP

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US biotech firm Moderna reported “positive interim” results on Monday in the first clinical tests of its vaccine against the new coronavirus performed on a small number of volunteers.

The vaccine, mRNA-1273, appeared to produce an immune response in eight people who received it, of the same magnitude as that observed in people convalescing from the virus, the company said.

The complete results of the phase 1 test, the first in the development of a vaccine and which in this case involved 45 participants, were not yet known.

The vaccine “was generally safe and well tolerated,” Moderna said in a statement.

“These interim phase 1 data, while early, demonstrate that vaccination with mRNA-1273 elicits an immune response of the magnitude caused by natural infection,” Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer, said.

The clinical test was carried out by the National Institutes of Health, and the US government has invested a half billion dollars in the development of Moderna’s vaccine candidate.

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Three groups of 15 patients received three different doses of the vaccine.

Phase 2 tests, with a larger number of subjects, should begin soon, and according to Moderna.

The phase 3 trial, the last and most important to validate the efficacy of a vaccine, should begin in July.

Separate tests performed on mice showed that the vaccine prevented the virus from replicating in their lungs, according to the company.

“The Moderna team continues to focus on moving as fast as safely possible to start our pivotal Phase 3 study in July,” said Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s CEO.

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Beyond Zero, AMREF to train health volunteers on Covid-19 – KBC

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First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s Beyond Zero initiative has teamed up with the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) to train 5100 community health volunteers to boost the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

The one-month Covid-19 training for community health volunteers in Nairobi county sponsored by Beyond Zero at a cost of Kshs 4.5 million will be delivered virtually by AMREF through a digital learning platform called “Leap”.

Speaking Tuesday during the launch of the virtual training at the AMREF International University in Nairobi, Beyond Zero Coordinator Ms Angella Langat said the training comes at the right time when community health volunteers who are at the forefront of the Covid-19 response efforts require accurate information.

“This Covid-19 training is especially timely, as the world and Kenya grapple with the disease,” Ms Langat said.

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She expressed hope that the training will equip the community health volunteers with the necessary information and skills to help combat the spread of the virus.

“Her Excellency the First Lady’s Beyond Zero Initiative is honoured to be part of this process through the funding of the first cohort of community health volunteers. I thank the Ministry of Health, AMREF and respective teams for their commitment towards the development of this training curriculum,” Ms Langat said.

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Ms Langat pointed out that Beyond Zero’s interventions in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is aligned to complement government efforts in promoting the health and wellbeing of Kenyans.

AMREF Enterprise CEO Caroline Mbindyo praised the partnership between Beyond Zero and her organization especially in the training of the community health volunteers, saying it will go a long way in scaling up efforts geared towards curbing the spread of Coronavirus in the country’s informal settlements.

Ms Mbindyo said AMREF has in collaboration with the Ministry of Health developed the curriculum for the training of community health workers, adding that the volunteers will access the training through their mobile phones free of charge.

Noting that there are about 70,000 community health volunteers in the country, Ms Mbindyo called on other organizations to emulate Beyond Zero and provide sponsorship for the training of the critical health providers across the country.

On her part, AMREF’s Community Training Liaison Officer Carolyne Wanyonyi said the training will enhance the awareness of the community health volunteers on Covid-19 and empower them with skills to help in the containment of the virus in their communities.

“The training will facilitate community health volunteers to be able to do risk assessment and they will also be able to know what needs to be done if an individual has been infected with the Coronavirus or is a suspected case,” Ms Wanyonyi said.

Ms Wanyonyi said the training has four modules with the first module focusing on what coronavirus is, its prevention, risks and transmission modes.

The second module will cover what the community health volunteers need to do in suspected Covid-19 cases.

The third module will look at the risks involved and the stigma associated with the disease in order to enable them counsel community members effectively.

The final module of the training will focus on community disease surveillance where the community health volunteers will learn about how to protect themselves from contracting Covid-19 in the course of their service delivery.

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Uganda moves to phased reopening amid rising Covid-19 cases

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CHARLES M. MPAGI

By CHARLES M. MPAGI
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Uganda will go ahead with its planned re-opening of the country despite recording more than 150 Covid-19 cases in three days, according to President Yoweri Museveni.

In an address to the nation on Monday evening, President Museveni said that public transport will resume but with necessary health and safety measures in place.

“We shouldn’t bite too much at a time. Opening for private cars has already unleashed big numbers of people moving. We have decided to postpone the opening of schools for another month,” Museveni said in his 15th address to the nation on Covid-19.

Buses and commuter taxis will resume on June 4 but will operate at half the capacity with commuters and operators “covering their mouth and nose all the time.”

Travel in districts bordering neighbouring countries is also not allowed for the next three weeks.

“For the next 21 days, no private or public transport is allowed in the border districts. There are forty districts in northern, northeastern, Bugisu, Bunyoro, Ankole and the Kigezi subregions,” added the president.

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Malls and stand-alone stores have also allowed been to reopen as long as clients observe physical distancing.

Schools, gyms, salons, bars and places of worship will remain closed for 21 more days.

Meanwhile, Uganda on Tuesday recorded 32 new Covid-19 cases raising the national tally to 489.

“Nineteen of the new confirmed cases are from 1,693 samples from points of entry while 13 are from 423 samples of contacts and alerts,” the Health Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Fourteen new cases were recorded in Elegu, near South Sudan, two each in Busia and Malaba near the Kenyan border, while one was recorded in Mutukula near the border with Tanzania.

Thirteen of the new cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases. All patients are Ugandans.

“Currently, there are 391 admitted Covid-19 confirmed cases in 15 referral hospitals in the country. All are in stable condition,” the statement added.

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Uganda moves to phased reopening amid rising Covid-19 cases

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CHARLES M. MPAGI

By CHARLES M. MPAGI
More by this Author

Uganda will go ahead with its planned re-opening of the country despite recording more than 150 Covid-19 cases in three days, according to President Yoweri Museveni.

In an address to the nation on Monday evening, President Museveni said that public transport will resume but with necessary health and safety measures in place.

“We shouldn’t bite too much at a time. Opening for private cars has already unleashed big numbers of people moving. We have decided to postpone the opening of schools for another month,” Museveni said in his 15th address to the nation on Covid-19.

Buses and commuter taxis will resume on June 4 but will operate at half the capacity with commuters and operators “covering their mouth and nose all the time.”

Travel in districts bordering neighbouring countries is also not allowed for the next three weeks.

“For the next 21 days, no private or public transport is allowed in the border districts. There are forty districts in northern, northeastern, Bugisu, Bunyoro, Ankole and the Kigezi subregions,” added the president.

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Malls and stand-alone stores have also allowed been to reopen as long as clients observe physical distancing.

Schools, gyms, salons, bars and places of worship will remain closed for 21 more days.

Meanwhile, Uganda on Tuesday recorded 32 new Covid-19 cases raising the national tally to 489.

“Nineteen of the new confirmed cases are from 1,693 samples from points of entry while 13 are from 423 samples of contacts and alerts,” the Health Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Fourteen new cases were recorded in Elegu, near South Sudan, two each in Busia and Malaba near the Kenyan border, while one was recorded in Mutukula near the border with Tanzania.

Thirteen of the new cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases. All patients are Ugandans.

“Currently, there are 391 admitted Covid-19 confirmed cases in 15 referral hospitals in the country. All are in stable condition,” the statement added.

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