Anadolu Agency South Africa
Virus mutation won't affect potential vaccines: Study - Anadolu Agency
Australia’s national agency says virus has mutated, currently 85% of cases are those of ‘G-Strain’ - Anadolu Agency
ANKARA Researchers in Australia Friday said that any further mutation of the novel coronavirus virus in new forms of strains won’t affect any possible vaccine to treat the infection. The study by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) -- Australia's national science agency -- said “G-strain” of the SARS-CoV-2 is currently the most dominant strain of the coronavirus. “There has been some speculation about whether COVID-19 vaccines in development would still work against it,” said the study published on Friday. Many countries are working to produce a vaccine to treat the coronavirus which has affected over 36 million people globally. Over 1 million COVID-19 infected people have died since first reported in Wuhan city of China last December. “Our researchers have conducted an experiment that shows vaccines developed with an older virus strain should still work against the G-strain,” the study said. It said while the coronavirus adapts to a new host, in this case humans, “it can mutate, creating new strains”. “It’s normal for different dominant strains of the virus to appear over time,” said CSIRO’s “Dangerous Pathogens” team leader Dr. Vasan Vasan. “Researchers analyze published genome sequences of virus samples to spot new strains and even track their spread around the world,” he said. The study said the “D-strain” was the “initial version of the coronavirus, and vaccines were created to target its distinctive spike protein”. The CSIRO is also working on a potential vaccine with Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Oxford University. “But SARS-CoV-2 kept [coronavirus] mutating as it spread. A new strain bumped the ‘D-strain’ out of the top spot. It’s called the ‘G-strain’ or the D614G mutation. And it now accounts for about 85 per cent of cases worldwide,” the study added. The researchers at the Australian science agency said they conducted tests on the new strain of the virus. “Our researchers took blood samples from ferrets vaccinated with the Inovio candidate… The results were clear: samples from vaccinated ferrets showed a strong immune response against the virus. They developed neutralizing antibodies… even against the G-strain!” it added. Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.
Somali parents face dilemma over COVID-19 amid polio vaccination - Anadolu Agency
4-day polio vaccination campaign targets 1.65M children and has employed around 9,00 vaccinators in urban, rural areas - Anadolu Agency
MOGADISHU, Somalia Sagal Faduma, a mother of three including five-month-old Maryan, is seated on a mat outside her house, a tree that lies next to the house in Xirkadheere, Banaadir region of Somalia providing a shade for the mother and daughter. Maryan has a crestfallen look on her face indicating that despite being hungry she does not want any of the porridge that her mother is trying to feed her, her eyes are wide with a partially opened mouth. Sometimes she can be seen eating the porridge but mostly rejects it. Sagal gives up on feeding her and Maryan screams with delight, her face gleaming with joy as she bounced up and down on her mother’s lap. Somalia is among high-risk Polio outbreak countries due to its fragile and vulnerable population that mostly includes nomads, displaced people and people living in rural and slum areas. In recent years Somalia has witnessed two polio outbreaks in 2013-2014 and 2017-2018, outbreaks which mostly affect children who are not vaccinated against the disease-causing virus, like baby Maryan. Currently, there is a polio outbreak in southern and central parts of Somalia. UN agencies in Somalia have rolled out a program to immunize children against polio but parents such as Sagal are scared about the spread of the coronavirus. “I follow news about the coronavirus on radio,” Faduma said. “It affects children and old people. My father is close to his 80s and I am afraid that the people going around might infect my child or my father with the virus. I am not sure whether I want my child to be vaccinated, other mothers have said they will not.” 44-year-old Thabit Liban who is also a father to a new-born baby boy said: “People are afraid of the coronavirus disease, there is no trust among parents, if they ask me to bring my child somewhere I will go but I will not put the lives of my friends and family at risk, also I am supposed to travel to the Galguduud district today, so as I move there I doubt my child will be vaccinated because we will be on the road”. Somalia is currently conducting a polio immunization campaign targeting over 1.65 million children. Polio vaccinators can be seen going from door to door with megaphones calling on families with children under the age of five to come and be vaccinated. The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, which have launched the vaccination drive, have assured the masses that all precautionary measures have been taken to ensure that the exercise is safe. The UN agencies say that their health workers are observing all COVID-19 health and safety measures as they conduct the immunization drive. “Carefully selected health workers were given protective face masks and gloves and were trained rigorously to ensure they kept themselves and their families safe from COVID-19,” the WHO said in a statement. Precautionary measures taken during the workday include washing hands regularly, wearing face masks and ensuring physical distancing. The WHO says that its teams are spread across all regions with the main aim being to reach as many children as possible: those living in urban and rural locations, with nomadic lifestyles, as well as those living in camps for internally displaced people. Mamunur Rahman Malik, the WHO representative for Somalia, said in a statement that “the only way to stop such outbreaks from vaccine-preventable diseases, including polio, is to vaccinate every child every time immunization services are offered, either through routine programmes or through such mass campaigns. “We all have a moral responsibility to reach and boost the immunity of every last child in Somalia. Owing to access, security and health-seeking behaviour, we are missing a large number of children every year, who are not receiving these life-saving vaccines.” For his part, Werner Schultink, UNICEF representative for Somalia, stated: “It is critical that all routine immunizations continue, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, These vaccination drives will help prevent further outbreaks and will protect children from deadly diseases so they can survive and thrive.” According to the UN, 6,266 vaccinators in urban areas and 2,685 vaccinators in rural areas will be going from door to door to vaccinate 1.65 million children aged under five with oral polio vaccine during the ongoing campaign. In efforts to reach every child possible, an additional 1,125 team supervisors will be visiting households in targeted areas. As many as 3,390 community mobilizers, sensitizing target communities, will play a key role in helping families to understand, trust and accept vaccines. The four-day vaccination campaign will end on Sept. 23. Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.
Ebola in DR Congo 'evolving in a concerning way' - Anadolu Agency
Virus is spreading across 'wide, rugged terrain which requires costly interventions,’ WHO Africa director says - Anadolu Agency
YAOUNDE, Cameroon Ebola outbreak in the western part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is of grave concern as cases reach 100 in less than 100 days, the regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Africa said on Friday. In a statement, the UN health agency said, the outbreak has since spread to 11 of the 17 health zones in the DRC’s Equateur province. Of 100 cases reported so far, 96 are confirmed and four are probable and 43 people have lost their lives, it added. “With 100 Ebola cases in less than 100 days, the outbreak in Equateur province is evolving in a concerning way,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the regional director of WHO for Africa. “The virus is spreading across a wide and rugged terrain which requires costly interventions and with COVID-19 draining resources and attention, it is hard to scale-up operations,” she added. “Without extra support, the teams on the ground will find it harder to get ahead of the virus,” Moeti said. “COVID-19 is not the only emergency needing robust support. As we know from our recent history, we ignore Ebola at our peril.” The statement said the WHO and its partners have helped to screen more than 640,000 people across 40 points of control in the Central African country that were set up to help keep travelers safe when crossing into an affected area. “The WHO has also worked to raise awareness about Ebola among nearly 774,000 people in the affected communities on how to recognize symptoms and seek treatment,” it added. This latest outbreak, the 11th in the DRC, was declared on June 1, 2020, in Equateur. A cluster of cases was initially detected in Mbandaka, the provincial capital. The WHO and the DRC government declared the country free from the 10th outbreak in May. Starting in North Kivu in August 2018, the epidemic was the second-largest outbreak in the world and particularly challenging as it took place in an active conflict zone. There were 3,470 cases, 2,287 deaths and 1,171 survivors, according to the WHO. Ebola, a tropical fever that first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the DRC, is transmitted to humans from wild animals. The disease caused a global alarm in 2014, when the world’s worst outbreak began in West Africa, killing more than 11,300 people, and infecting an estimated 28,600 as it swept through Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.
UN Security Council renews sanctions on DR Congo - Anadolu Agency
Resolution imposes arms embargo on militant groups, travel ban, asset freeze on individuals, entities - Anadolu Agency
ANKARA The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution extending sanctions on the Democratic Republic of Congo until July 1, 2021, amid urgent humanitarian needs in the country due to violence. In a videoconference meeting on Thursday, the resolution imposed an arms embargo on armed groups in the country, a travel ban on individuals and asset freeze on individuals and entities designated by the sanctions committee. It also extended the mandate of a Group of Experts tasked with assisting in the oversight of those measures until Aug. 1, 2021. The Security Council “reaffirmed a stipulation that the sanctions do not apply to the supply, sale or transfer of arms — and the provision of any assistance, advice or training — intended for the military activities of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or to support the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the African Union Regional Task Force.” Attacks on civilians have mounted in recent months in the eastern DRC, triggering protests against the UN peacekeeping force, MONUSCO, for failing to protect the people. The army launched an offensive in January against militias operating in the gold-rich province of Ituri as part of a wider offensive launched last October. Most of the attacks in the region are blamed on the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC), the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), and Cooperative for Development of Congo (CODECO) insurgent groups. “In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, millions of people have to flee their home in search of safety. Numbers will keep rising as long as international humanitarian law is not fully respected. “We must ensure that internally displaced people are protected as much as possible from the effects of conflict and get access to shelter, hygiene, health, safety and nutrition,” said Rachel Bernhard, ICRC’s head of delegation in the DRC said last month. Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.
World's deepest gold mine shut down due to COVID-19 - Anadolu Ajansı
Global gold mining company AngloGold Ashanti says it temporarily halted operations on a voluntary basis - Anadolu Agency
ANKARA The coronavirus outbreak in South Africa has closed Mponeng, the world’s deepest gold mine after 164 workers tested positive for the disease. The global gold mining company AngloGold Ashanti said it conducted 650 tests since last Thursday, including primary contacts and many others who wished to be tested voluntarily. “All positive cases will be isolated in line with national health protocols, with on-site facilities available for those who may need them,” it said in a statement on Sunday. “As a precautionary step, and after discussions with the regulator, operations at Mponeng Mine -- which were running at 50% capacity -- have been temporarily halted voluntarily, to complete contact tracing and to again deep clean and sanitize the workplace and key infrastructure,” it added. Mponeng is located in the West Wits mining district, south-west of Johannesburg. The operating depth at the Mponeng mine ranged from 3.16 to 3.84 kilometers (1.96 to 2.38 miles) below the surface by the end of 2018, according to the Mining Technology. AngloGold Ashanti is the third-largest gold producer globally and the largest on the African continent, producing 3.3Moz and employing 34,263 people in 2019, according to information on its website. In a national address, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa that his country will further ease its strict nationwide lockdown imposed several weeks ago to curb the spread of coronavirus, allowing most of the economy to function starting June 1. South Africa is the hardest-hit country in Africa with 22,583 cases with 429 deaths, and 11,100 recoveries, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.