Keeping tabs on Covid-19: Chinese jabs support Zimbabwe’s vaccination effort and rapid test undergoes design revamp

Zimbabwe health minster rolls out southern African nation’s vaccine program by receiving the first dose of Sinopharm vaccine donated by China

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As vaccine programs are rolled out across the globe, with the UK, US, Australia and the Philippines among the list of countries to recently publicize their progress, Pharma IQ journeys to Germany and Zimbabwe to uncover how their vaccine attempts are advancing in this week’s industry round up.

Coronavirus rapid test is simplified in Germany

The coronavirus rapid tests created by nal von minden, a German-based medical diagnostics company , have undergone a product review and product development exploration. Already a widely used product used to monitor the spread of Covid-19 around the globe, the refined coronavirus rapid tests now only requires patients to take a nasal swab as opposed to a nasal and throat swab, providing patients with an easier, quicker and more comfortable testing experience.

Roland Meißner, CEO at nal von minden, said: “It’s much more comfortable when a sample can be taken from the anterior nasal passage.

“Many professional groups such as carers, doctors and teachers may need to be tested more regularly, so the simpler the rapid test is to carry out, the more people will be able to use it and in turn the pandemic can be better and more quickly contained,” Meißner added.

The company has claimed results from the nasal-only test can be read after 15 minutes and have been considered “highly trustworthy”. The diagnostic specificity has been established at more than 99.9 per cent and the sensitivity at 97.56 per cent. The specificity indicates whether seemingly healthy people who are tested are in fact healthy, while the sensitivity illustrates whether all sick people are to be identified as such.

“According to our findings, it is preferable to take sample material from the nose rather than use saliva,” Meißner said. “In saliva, there is an abundance of enzymes that attack and destroy free viral proteins. In the nose, on the other hand, there are fewer of these. This means that an individual with coronavirus can be confidently identified using a nasal swab.”

Zimbabwe begins Covid-19 vaccination roll out with donated jabs from China

Constantino Chiwenga, Vice-President and Health Minister of Zimbabwe, kicked off the region’s vaccination drive for frontline health workers after receiving the first Covid-19 jab at Harare’s Wilkins Hospital this week.

The country has so far reported more than 35,000 Covid-19 cases and more than 1,400 deaths.

Zimbabwe is aiming to vaccinate approximately 60 per cent of its population starting with vulnerable groups including healthcare and frontline workers and elderly people with chronic conditions. The country has currently acquired 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, which were donated by China.

Chiwenga publically addressed the Zimbabwe Parliament on Tuesday 16, announcing that Zimbabwe’s vaccination program would be free of charge and that the country hoped to purchase another 800,000 more vaccine doses within the coming month.

The first phase the southern African nation’s program wil determine whether the Sinopharm vaccine can be effective against the coronavirus variant that spread to Zimbabwe since first being detected in South Africa.

Monica Mutsvangwa, Information Minister of Zimbabwe, said: “Now there is a 61 per cent dominance of the new South African variant in Zimbabwe.

“We are aiming for a total of 22 per cent of the population will be vaccinated during the first phase,” Mutsvangwa added. “In the second phase, 18.4 per cent of people will be targeted, while 18.4 per cent will be vaccinated in the third phase, thus achieving the target of vaccinating nearly 60 per cent of the entire population.”

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