South Africa is offering its AstraZeneca vaccines to fellow African countries: Mkhize

South Africa is offering its AstraZeneca vaccines to fellow African countries: Mkhize

"Firstly, it is without dispute that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has a 57% efficacy against the 501Y.V2 variant and is fully protective against serious illness or death".

South Africa is preparing to give its first COVID-19 vaccinations - shots of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still being tested - to health care workers this week, the health minister said Tuesday.

The Indian government is now considering mandating RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests for all people coming from Brazil and South Africa, as is being done for those flying in from the United Kingdom.

AstraZeneca has said its vaccine appeared to offer only limited protection against mild disease caused by the South African variant, based on data from a study by South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand and Oxford University.

While the South African variant was detected in passengers who arrived in January, the Brazilian variant was detected in a returnee in the first week of February.

Medical scientists are rolling out the mass vaccinations as part of an implementation study between the Department of Health and the South African Medical Research Council.

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William said due to logistical purposes around the arrival of the vaccines this evening, no media access can be granted. The NIV has isolated the Brazil variant and has begun experiments to assess the vaccine's effectiveness against it, he said.

The AU said six countries other than South Africa hadconfirmed the variant was circulating, but there are concerns ithas spread elsewhere.

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 16 (Reuters) - South Africa plans to share1 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses with otherAfrican countries, a senior official said, as the governmentconfirmed the first shots from rival Johnson & Johnsonwould arrive on Tuesday evening.

"The strain has multiple mutations, including in the receptor binding domain of the spike protein allowing the virus to easily enter the lung cells of the human body". The Brazilian strain, which has increased transmissibility, has been found in 15 countries.

Niti Aayog member (health) V.K. Paul added that the discovery of two more mutant coronavirus strains in the country is "worrying".

The health authorities are carrying out genetic sequencing on samples of the virus taken from diagnosed patients to detect for either of the variants.

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