Addis Ababa – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa reached 4,203,087 as of Wednesday noon, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.
The Africa CDC, the specialised healthcare agency of the African Union, said the death toll from the pandemic stood at 112,471, while 3,762,968 patients across the continent have recovered from the disease.
South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Egypt are among the African countries with the most cases in the continent, according to the Africa CDC.
In terms of the number of cases, Southern Africa is the most affected region, followed by North Africa and Eastern Africa, while Central Africa is the least affected region on the continent, according to the African health agency.
African countries have so far received more than 26 million COVID-19 vaccines both from the COVAX facility and through bilateral agreements outside COVAX, according to the Africa CDC.
Meanwhile, the United States National Institutes of Health on Wednesday started testing a new coronavirus vaccine from Moderna designed to protect against a problematic variant first found in South Africa.
The phase one trial, led and funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will test how safe and effective the new shot is against the variant — known as B.1.351 — in roughly 210 healthy adults, according to the agency.
The B.1.351 variant first discovered in South Africa late last year has given scientists more cause for concern compared with other variants. The variant appears to spread easier than the “wild type” original strains, and research indicates it can possibly evade some of the protections generated by therapeutics and vaccines.
The US Food and Drug Administration has previously said it will expedite the authorisation process for the updated vaccines that target the troublesome variants, eliminating the need for lengthy clinical trials.However, an independent safety monitoring committee will continue to oversee the trials to ensure the shots are safe, the NIH statement said. – Xinhua/CNBC