More than two billion Covid vaccines given worldwide: AFP

PARIS, France (AFP) — More than two billion Covid-19 vaccines have been given across the world, according to an AFP tally Thursday drawn from official sources. The milestone comes six months after the first vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 began. At least 2,109,696,022 shots have been given in 215 countries and territories, according to the count from an AFP database taken at 0915 GMT. Israel, which has led the race from the start, is still out […]

Covid origins mystery continues to spark speculation and tension

by Julie CHARPENTRAT PARIS, France (AFP) — The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has scorched its way across the world killing millions and bringing economies to a standstill. But where exactly did it come from? With few clear answers, speculation has persisted since the beginning of the pandemic, spawning misinformation and conspiracy theories as well as sharp diplomatic tensions. Here is a look at leads scientists are following — and others they have rejected — in trying to […]

WHO approves China’s Sinovac Covid jab

by Robin MILLARD GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The World Health Organization on Tuesday approved the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use — the second Chinese jab to receive the WHO’s green light. The UN health agency signed off on the Beijing-based firm Sinovac’s two-dose vaccine CoronaVac, which is already being deployed in several countries around the world. “I’m happy to announce that the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine has been given WHO emergency use listing after being found […]

Study shows dogs can detect Covid-positive arrivals

by Patrick GALEY PARIS, France (AFP) — Dogs can be trained to detect more than 90 percent of Covid-19 infections even when patients are asymptomatic, according to research published Monday, which authors hope could help replace the need to quarantine new arrivals. Using their remarkable sense of smell — which can pick up the equivalent of half a teaspoon of sugar in an olympic-sized swimming pool — dogs have already shown that they can sniff […]

New CDC study in health workers shows 94% efficacy of Covid-19 mRNA vaccines

(Eagle News) — A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study on a group of health care workers showed that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are effective in protecting health care personnel (HCP) against COVID-19 by as much as 94 percent. In a release from the US CDC, it said that the mRNA vaccines Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna “reduced the risk of getting sick with COVID-19 by 94% […]

Don’t vaccinate kids, but give doses to Covax: WHO chief

  GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The WHO urged wealthy countries Friday to stop vaccinating children against Covid-19 and instead donate doses to poorer nations, while warning that the pandemic’s second year looked set to be more deadly. World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus voiced outrage that a number of rich countries were now vaccinating children and teenagers, while poorer states had barely begun vaccinating health workers and the most vulnerable groups. Instead of offering […]

Experts call for new standards to combat airborne disease

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Building standards need to undergo a “paradigm shift” to better protect against airborne diseases, a group of experts said Thursday, drawing on hard-won lessons from the Covid pandemic. Future building designs must incorporate increased ventilation and air-cleaning measures, including filtration and disinfection using both filters and ultraviolet devices, they wrote in the journal Science. This comes as accumulating data suggest that tiny particles containing the coronavirus that are released by […]

Doctors sound alarm over 5-fold jump in kids swallowing magnets from toys

  by Marlowe HOOD Agence France Presse Doctors from major hospitals in England sounded an alarm on Wednesday over a fivefold increase in the number of young children requiring medical treatment after swallowing magnets from toys. Nearly half of these kids aged four months and up required surgery to remove the magnets, often followed by complications, they reported in a research letter published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, a medical journal. From 2016 […]

Malnutrition strikes children in DR Congo’s fragile Kasai region

by Marthe BOSUANDOLE MBUJI-MAYI, DR Congo (AFP) — Claudine Kamwanya’s twins are barely two but have the ethereal look of the very old. Wizened features and saucer-like eyes peer from their tiny emaciated faces. “How can I satisfy their hunger?” Kamwanya, who has two other children and is pregnant with a fifth, asks helplessly. “My husband doesn’t work and I sell only water.” Acute malnutrition stalks the diamond-rich but fragile Kasai region in the Democratic […]

Covid jab maker BioNTech to build SE Asia manufacturing site

FRANKFURT, Germany (AFP) — Covid jab maker BioNTech said Monday it would build a southeast Asia headquarters and manufacturing site in Singapore to produce hundreds of millions of mRNA-based vaccines per year. Construction of the site will start this year, and it could become operational by 2023, the German company said in a statement. “With this planned mRNA production facility, we will increase our overall network capacity and expand our ability to manufacture and deliver […]

WHO approves China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine

by Robin MILLARD GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The World Health Organization on Friday approved the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use — the first Chinese jab to receive the WHO’s green light. The UN health agency signed off on the two-dose vaccine, which is already being deployed in dozens of countries around the world. The WHO has already given emergency use listing to the vaccines being made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, and the […]

Russia approves one-dose ‘Sputnik Light’ Covid jab

  MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Health officials in Russia approved a single-dose version of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the developers of the shot said Thursday. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which helped finance the vaccine, said in a statement that Sputnik Light “demonstrated 79.4 percent efficacy” compared to 91.6 percent for the two-shot Sputnik V. The results, it said, were drawn from “data taken from 28 days after the injection was administered as […]