Covid-19 pandemic: WHO warns against letting guard down
The arrival of Covid-19 vaccines should not tempt countries to relax efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, top World Health Organization officials said on Friday, citing concern that Brazil’s epidemic could spread to other countries.
“We think we’re through this. We’re not,” Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergency expert, told an online briefing. “Countries are going to lurch back into third and fourth surges if we’re not careful.” Record Covid-19 deaths have been reported in Brazil this week and its hospital system is on the brink of collapse, driven partly by a more contagious variant first identified there.
The US Senate narrowly approved a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill on Saturday. The chamber set a record in its longest single vote in the modern era at 11 hours and 50 minutes. The fight is not over as the bill needs to return to the House for the final approval.
‘AstraZeneca effective against Brazil variant’
Preliminary data from a study conducted at the University of Oxford indicates that the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca is effective against the P1, or Brazilian, variant, a source with knowledge of the study told Reuters on Friday.
The data indicates that the vaccine will not need to be modified in order to protect against the variant, which is believed to have originated in the Amazonian city of Manaus, said the source, who requested anonymity as the results have not yet been made public. The source said the full results of the study should be released soon, possibly in March.