WHO says just 1 in 4 African health workers Covid jabbed

BRAZZAVILLE, Congo (AFP) — Only a quarter of health workers in Africa are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the World Health Organization said Thursday warning that majority of the continent’s frontline medical workforce were dangerously exposed. By contrast, a recent study of 22 predominantly high-income countries revealed that more than 80 percent of healthcare workers there were fully vaccinated against coronavirus, according to the WHO. “The majority of Africa’s health workers are still missing out on […]

Seoul trials pint-sized robots in nursery schools

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Seoul has started trialling pint-sized robots as teaching aids in kindergartens — a pilot project the city government said would help prepare the next generation for a hi-tech future. The “Alpha Mini” is just 24.5 centimetres tall and can dance, lead sing-a-longs, recite stories and even teach kung-fu moves as children mimic its push-ups and one-legged balances. “The robots help with the kids’ creativity,” teacher Byun Seo-yeon told AFP during […]

Russia says Sputnik gives longer protection than Western jabs

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — The backers of Sputnik V on Wednesday said the Russian vaccine provides longer immunity against coronavirus than Western jabs using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which supported the vaccine’s development, said the Sputnik vaccine is 80 percent effective against coronavirus between six and eight months after the second dose. The country has recorded more than 9.4 million coronavirus cases, the fifth-highest number in the world, and […]

Vaccines reduce Covid transmission by 40%: WHO

  by Robin MILLARD Agence France Presse GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — Covid vaccines reduce transmission of the dominant Delta variant by about 40 percent, the WHO said Wednesday, warning that people were falling into a false sense of security concerning jabs. The World Health Organization’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said many vaccinated people were wrongly thinking the jab meant they no longer needed to take any other precautions. Fully-immunised people must stick with measures to […]

Oil majors ‘pocketing the difference’ as gas prices surge: Biden

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Oil majors have raised gasoline prices for the sake of their own profits, US President Joe Biden said Tuesday as his administration looked for ways to lower prices at pumps nationwide at the beginning of the holiday travel season. The White House has upped the pressure on oil markets amid a spike in energy prices that has driven overall US inflation to record levels. Biden had earlier in the day […]

The Chinese dad making medicine to treat his dying son

by Patrick Baert with Danni Zhu KUNMING, China (AFP) — Two-year-old Haoyang has likely just months to live — but the only medicine that can help his rare genetic condition is not found anywhere in China and closed borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic mean he cannot travel for treatment. Instead, his desperate father, Xu Wei, has created a home laboratory to create a remedy for the boy himself. “I didn’t really have time to […]

EU starts J&J Covid vaccine booster evaluation

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AFP) — The EU’s drug watchdog on Monday said it was evaluating an application by Johnson & Johnson for its Covid vaccine booster shot to be used on people aged 18 and over in the bloc. If approved, the booster will be the third in the 27-nation European Union for adults and will be given at least two months after a first single-shot dose. “EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) will carry out […]

Pfizer says Covid shot 100% effective in adolescents after 4 months

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Pfizer and BioNTech said Monday their Covid-19 vaccine remained 100 percent effective in children 12 to 15 years old, four months after the second dose. The companies said that the new data, which involved 2,228 trial participants, will help support their applications for full approval in the United States and worldwide. No serious safety concerns were observed in individuals with at least six months of follow-up after the second dose. […]

K-pop kings BTS win Artist of the Year AMA in Asian first

  LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — K-pop sensation BTS on Sunday became the first Asian group to win Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards. The septet also scooped awards for Favorite Pop Duo or Group and Favorite Pop Song for their hit “Butter” at the glitzy Los Angeles ceremony hosted by Cardi B. South Korea’s biggest band, who now have nine AMAs, joined British rockers Coldplay for the world television premiere […]

US authorizes Covid boosters for all adults, recommends for over-50s

    by Issam AHMED Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States authorized the Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccine boosters for all people aged 18 and older on Friday, as the world’s hardest-hit country enters a new winter wave of the pandemic. Boosters were previously available to the immune compromised, people over 65, those at high risk of severe disease, and people in high risk occupations. The new decision “helps to […]

US to buy 10 million Pfizer Covid-19 treatments for $5.3 billion

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday announced the United States is buying 10 million courses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 treatment pill, in a $5.3 billion deal he touted as “critical” to fighting the pandemic. Pfizer applied this week for US emergency use authorization for its Paxlovid antiviral pill, shown to be highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death among high-risk patients. While the deal hinges on the treatment’s approval by the Food […]

AstraZeneca announces ‘robust’ results from anti-Covid drug trial

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on Thursday announced that clinical trials of an antibody-based Covid-19 drug had shown robust efficacy and long-term prevention. The Anglo-Swedish laboratory follows in the footsteps of US firms Merck and Pfizer, which announced in October and early November respectively that they had developed drugs that could prevent severe forms of the disease, and that could be taken at the first sign of symptoms. The AstraZeneca drug AZD7442, […]